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It’s Time to Consider Your Flu Vaccination

flu vaccineAlthough it is still early in the season, NPS MedicineWise is joining other health experts in advising people it’s time to consider a flu vaccination.

NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden says that having the flu vaccination is the best way to protect against the infection and its potential complications.

“We’re urging people who are most at risk to have the flu vaccination this autumn, because influenza can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia,” he says. “Flu vaccines also change each year, so to ensure you are protected against the strains that are most  likely to cause infection this flu season it’s important to get vaccinated again in 2014.”

People at risk of the complications of the flu include those who are 65 years or older, pregnant women, Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders who are 15 years or older, and people who have certain medical conditions including heart disease,  diabetes and lung disease.

Vaccination against the flu is also recommended for health workers and others who care for people at increased risk of complications of the flu.

“Protecting yourself from getting the flu will also protect others from being infected because the flu virus can spread very easily from one person to another. “Good hygiene practices such as washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water can also reduce the risk of infection.”

“You should certainly speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns at all about influenza vaccination,” he said.

Some at risk groups are eligible for a free vaccination, so speak to a health professional to find out if you’re eligible. Anyone older than 6 months who is not eligible for a free flu vaccine can still get vaccinated at their own cost.

To read more about the influenza vaccine, including who is most at risk of flu, vaccine safety issues and potential side effects, visit www.nps.org.au/fluvaccine