What is Influenza (Flu)?
The Flu is caused by influenza viruses and affects the respiratory system, i.e. nose, throat and lungs. It is very contagious and can vary from mild to severe, and on occasion can even cause death. Complications such as bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as Asthma, Heart Failure etc can occur from the Flu virus. The Flu, during the winter season, is one of the major reasons for hospitalizations in Australia. The Flu is a very common virus, although sometimes it could cause very severe respiratory problems, and is usually prevalent during the colder months from April to October.
The Flu virus spreads when a person with the flu sneezes, coughs or talks and tiny droplets of saliva or mucus spread through the air onto other people nearby. It can also spread by touching surfaces that have the Flu virus on them and then touching your face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth.
Symptoms of the Flu include some or all of the following:
- Fever / chills
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Muscle aches
If you have the Flu, drinking plenty of water is highly recommended in order to keep the body from getting dehydrated. The Flu usually lasts for about one week, and antibiotics are ineffective against the flu virus.
Who is most at risk from the Flu?
- Children below 5 years
- Adults above 65 years
- Pregnant women
- Those suffering from chronic medical conditions such as HIV, Asthma, Diabetes etc
- Those with greater exposure to the virus, such as healthcare workers
How to avoid the spread of the flu virus:
- Wash hands regularly
- Cover your mouth or nose when sneezing or coughing
- Stay away from people who are sick as much as possible
- Dispose of used tissues in a hygienic way
- Do not share cups, plates, cutlery etc
- Keep surfaces clean, such as phones, keyboards etc
- Get the Flu vaccine
The Flu is an ever-evolving type of virus, and the best way to protect yourself against it is to get the annual flu vaccine, especially if you belong to one of the high-risk groups. The vaccine has proven to be very successful in reducing flu-like illnesses and the risk of complications from this virus, and even death. The vaccine causes your body to develop antibodies against several different strains of the flu virus, which help protect you from Influenza.
Side effects of the flu vaccine:
Side effects of the flu vaccine are very mild in nature and temporary, and may include:
- Swelling or redness around the point of injection
- Muscle pain
- Mild fever (especially in children)
On very rare occasions, the Flu vaccine has caused severe side effects, such as allergic reactions. The mild and common side effects are temporary as compared to the risk and severe health effects of the Flu virus, hence the Flu vaccine is a highly recommended preventive method for contracting the Flu.
Studies have found that if you do get a different variant of the Flu even after the Flu vaccine has been taken, the vaccine has been found to reduce the severity of the virus and symptoms.
Which M3 Clinics offer the Flu Vaccine?
The 2021 Flu Vaccine is available at the following M3 clinics:
If you are looking for the Flu vaccine in Ascot Vale:
63-65 Union Road, Ascot Vale, VIC 3032 | Phone 03 9326 2098 | Fax 03 9375 7912
If you are looking for the Flu vaccine in Bayswater:
Shop 27-29, Mountain High Shopping Centre, 7-13 High Street, Bayswater, VIC 3153 | Phone 03 8820 0300 | Fax 03 9738 2200
If you are looking for the Flu vaccine in Hobsons Bay (Spotswood):
Level 1, 196-200 Hall Street, Spotswood, VIC 3015 | Phone 03 9391 2855 | Fax 03 9399 2755
Book an online appointment to get your flu shot before the Flu season comes around. Keep yourself and your family safe from the flu virus.
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