Winter is approaching fast and apart from the frost, driving rain and bitter cold we can also look forward to an increase in the number of colds and flu lurking around. Anyone who has suffered from a dose of the flu will be keen to get vaccinated for the 2016/2017 period. When I talk about the flu I am not referring to a runny and blocked nose I am talking about the debilitating and for many life-threatening illness that is caused by the Influenza Virus.
What is the flu?
Getting the flu is a horrible experience. Flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. Respiratory symptoms such a sore throat and blocked nose come on gradually.
Who is at Risk?
A number of patients automatically fall into the “At Risk” group when it comes to contracting the flu. This means if they have a medical card they can avail of a free vaccination. This includes patients over 65 years, patients with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart, liver, kidney or lung disease. The “At Risk” group also includes those who are immuno-suppressed, the morbidly obese, all pregnant women (vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy), healthcare workers, carers, residents of nursing homes and people with close regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl.
What is in the vaccine?
The vaccine contains three common influenza strains which change every year. That is why you need to get the flu vaccination each year. If you come in contact with one of the strains your immune system can attack the virus and stop you from getting sick.
With any vaccine there is the potential for soreness or a small rash at the injection area. It is rare but it can happen. At Pharmacy First Plus our pharmacists are all fully trained, confident and most importantly extremely gentle. We will give you a full consultation about the vaccine you are about to receive and will talk you through the entire process.
Flu Vaccination at Pharmacy First Plus
Last flu season I was lucky enough to be able to vaccinate over a 100 people in the Tower area. That is a number I am very proud of. Not in a sadistic way but because I potentially helped to prevent 100 people not only from getting the flu but also from passing it on to other more vulnerable members of our community. Our company vaccinated over 400 patients last season. This is a figure we hope to reach or even surmount this season.
I once asked an elderly gentleman in the pharmacy if he had gotten his flu vaccination yet. He politely informed me that he would never get it again as he received it a couple of years ago and had the flu every month since! I nodded understandingly and didn’t force the issue. If I can stress one thing to everyone reading this article it is that you CANNOT get the flu from the flu vaccination. It is impossible. It is a dead, inactive vaccine that gives you immunity to certain strains of influenza. Don’t believe the hysteria. You are infinitely better off getting the vaccine than contracting the flu.
How do I get it?
Getting your flu vaccination has never been easier. Give one of our pharmacies a call and book yourself in for an appointment now. September and October are the best months to get your vaccine to ensure you are protected from the flu.