Protect your health and reduce the risk of getting the flu

Over time, the perceived severity of influenza has weakened somewhat with many people passing a bad cold off as ‘flu’ without any real understanding of the impact this viral condition can have once it’s contracted.

While symptoms like those of the common cold present themselves in most flu cases, there’s no doubt that, unlike the common cold, the potential consequences of this disease can be a significant cause for concern.

Flu is highly contagious and is spread by direct contact with skin or airborne liquid particles. The incubation period for is an average of two days, so you won’t be aware of exposure until it’s too late.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Aches
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat

The flu develops suddenly, and in many cases, the symptoms cause pain, discomfort, and make the patient feel extremely unwell.

Symptoms usually clear up by themselves within one to two weeks. As it’s a viral condition, no medication can cure the flu, and the only option for relief during this time is to treat the symptoms.

Paediatric and pregnancy influenza vaccination recommendations

Influenza in pregnancy

In all flu cases, the virus attacks the immune system so if your immune system is weak; it’s more likely that complications will arise from a bout of the flu.

The immune system of an expectant mother in her first trimester of pregnancy is naturally suppressed, so there is a high risk of complication for both the mother and the unborn child if she contracts the infection.

In extreme cases, the flu can lead to miscarriage if the mother isn’t strong enough to fight the virus, or it can bring on early labour if contracted in the later stages of pregnancy.  There is a higher death rate in pregnancy if flu is contracted.

How to minimise risks of getting flu when pregnant

All pregnant women are eligible for the influenza vaccination under the National Immunisation Program, so it’s important that to reduce the risk of contracting the potentially deadly virus; they are immunised as soon as conception has taken place.

The vaccine is completely safe for expectant mothers, and it will also safeguard the infant against contracting certain strains of the virus themselves until they’re six-months-old when they’re considered strong enough to have a direct vaccination, if required.

Influenza in childhood

Children have weaker immune systems than adults, so it’s important that they’re fully protected against the flu virus to avoid secondary infections developing.  35 children a year die from flu in Australia.

Secondary infections include the following:

  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Sinus infection

Immunisation against flu is safe for a child over six-months-old. The vaccination is covered by Medicare if the child has a medical condition which puts them at high risk for problems arising from contracting the flu such as asthma, bronchitis or liver disease.

The influenza vaccination is recommended annually for children over 6 months old under the National Immunisation Program, but it’s only available without charge for children with existing medical conditions.

There are four age-specific variants on the flu vaccine for children, and variants are developed every year to respond to the different variations of the flu strain that are prevalent that season to ensure the maximum safety and protection of the child.

The only way to prevent against harmful strains of influenza which can have potentially devastating consequences is to immunise you and your children.

The implications of flu can be extremely severe so to reduce the risk associated with these and to protect the health of your child, contact us today for more information on vaccinating you or your child.