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Get The Flu Vaccine Ahead Of The Influenza Season

As the seasons change, so does the risk of getting sick. With the influenza season on the horizon, it is time to think about protecting ourselves and our loved ones from the flu. One of the best ways to do this is by getting the flu vaccine.

The flu, sometimes called influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can have serious consequences, especially for vulnerable persons, including small children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical disorders like asthma or diabetes.

You might be wondering, why bother getting vaccinated against the flu? Well, the flu is a dreadful illness that may eventually lead to hospitalisation or leave you bedridden for several days. Complications from the flu can also arise, particularly in small children, the elderly, and those with certain medical conditions.

The good news is that getting vaccinated against the flu can drastically lower your risk of contracting the illness. The vaccine functions by assisting your body in strengthening its defences against the flu virus, preparing it to fight it off if you do come into contact with it.

Protecting those around you

It is important to safeguard people around you as well as yourself by getting vaccinated. Getting vaccinated not only lowers your personal risk of illness, but it also helps stop the flu from spreading to members of your community, particularly those who might be more susceptible to life-threatening complications. Consider the young, the old, the expectant, and those with compromised immune systems. You can contribute to their safety by getting vaccinated.

  • Mild side effects can include a sore arm, slight fever, or feeling tired, however, they usually go away quickly.

  • Severe allergic reactions can occur in very rare cases. If you experience trouble breathing or other serious symptoms after vaccination, seek medical help immediately.

  • Despite potential side effects, the flu vaccine is considered safe and highly effective in preventing flu-related illness and complications.

The connection between RSV and COVID-19

Other respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), are also circulating in addition to the flu. RSV can cause symptoms similar to the flu, such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. It is particularly frequent in newborns and young children. Similar symptoms are also present in COVID-19, a coronavirus infection that can cause more serious respiratory problems.

Vaccinating against the flu not only shields you from diseases caused by the virus but also lessens the strain on the healthcare system, which is already dealing with instances of COVID-19 and RSV. This is particularly crucial because if a lot of people get sick during flu season, hospitals and clinics can become overloaded.

It is safe and easy

Some may be reluctant to receive the flu vaccine due to concerns about the vaccine itself or potential adverse effects. But don't worry; the flu vaccine is safe for most people, including children as young as six months old, pregnant women, and adults of all ages.

Getting vaccinated is also quick and simple. You can typically receive a flu vaccination at your doctor's office, a nearby pharmacy, or even certain community clinics. Remember that the flu vaccination is updated yearly to protect against the most recent strains of the flu virus, so get vaccinated every year.

People in the high-risk groups (small children, the elderly, and those with certain medical conditions) can receive the flu vaccine for free at public clinics on a first-come, first-served basis.

Medical schemes' funding for the flu vaccine can vary depending on the specific plan and provider. Some schemes will pay for the entire cost of the flu vaccine, so you don't have to pay anything when you get vaccinated. Others might only cover part of the cost, which means you might have to pay a bit yourself.

Sometimes, especially during flu seasons or public health campaigns, your medical scheme might offer incentives to encourage people to vaccinate against the flu.

It's really important to check what your specific medical scheme covers when it comes to the flu vaccine. You can usually find this information in your scheme's documents or by contacting them directly.

The vaccine is also available from private doctors, clinics, or pharmacies, where you will have to pay for it if you do not have any benefits available. Some workplaces provide the flu vaccine to their staff for free.

Now is the time to act. Don't wait until the flu season is fully underway to get vaccinated. The flu vaccination takes around two weeks to take full effect, so the sooner you get vaccinated, the better protected you will be when the illness spreads.

Roll up your sleeves and help keep your neighbourhood healthy and safe. Get vaccinated against the flu today!

circulars provided by Copyright (C) 2024 Council for Medical Schemes

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