01 May 2014
May 1, 2014

Flu Vaccine Season

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A Flu Vaccination is recommended in autumn to allow time for immunity to be strengthened before the flu season starts.

The 2013 seasonal influenza vaccine contains the same influenza strains used in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Although the influenza strains are unchanged, annual vaccination is recommended because immunity to influenza immunity decreases over time and vaccination is needed each year to ensure you continue to be protected.

Each year, the flu vaccine will protect against the three strains of flu virus which are most likely to circulate over the winter period. The 2013 seasonal flu vaccine protects against the same strains as the 2012 vaccine as they remain the most likely to occur here this winter. While the vaccine is the same, it is still important to get it again this year.

Even if you received a flu vaccination towards the end of the last flu season, you should still be vaccinated again before this flu season.

 

Influenza

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by two types of viruses in humans (Influenza A and B) which spreads easily from person to person through infected droplets in the air and by hands carrying the virus.

The flu virus infects your nose, throat and sometimes your lungs. It differs from a cold as symptoms such as fever, sore throat and muscle aches develop suddenly and last about a week. In some cases severe illness and complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis can develop resulting in hospitalisation and/or death.

Flu can also make some underlying medical conditions worse. There is a need to get vaccinated every year because the viruses circulating in the community continually change and immunity from the vaccine does not last a long time.

Further health problems can develop in some people after infection with influenza including pneumonia, heart, blood system and liver complications, which can lead to death, especially in children and older people. Children with severe egg allergy should not receive the vaccine and discuss this with their immunisation provider.

Influenza is a vaccine preventable disease, but vaccines need to be given each year, because the viruses are always changing. Under the Immunise Australia Program influenza vaccination is recommended as part of routine vaccinations for Older Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people over 15 years of age, pregnant women and individuals aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza.