Another lethal season of the flu may be upon us - THIS is how to keep your family safe

It is SHOCKING the number of people who died from the flu in Australia last year...

Did you know that in 2017 alone as many as 222,000 Australians had reported cases of influenza?
If that isn't enough to make you take notice of what you may think is a common cold but could actually be the flu, this will as reported by the ABC, almost 500 people tragically lost their lives to the flu, or a an illness resulting from the virus. And this year's deadly flu season already be upon us.
In an interview with A Current Affair, Professor Dominic Dwyer from NSW Health Pathology explains that "we are already seeing influenza activity, perhaps at a higher level than what we would normally see between winters".
Those most at risk? Pregnant women and children, as well as eldery people. However, those older Australians are also more at risk because as Professor Dwyer asserts, the vaccines is sometimes less effective for them.
"It's been realised that the older you are, the less effective the influenza vaccine is," Professor Dominic Dwyer from NSW Health Pathology told A Current Affair.
So what can you do to protect your family and loved ones from the flu? Well, this is EVERYTHING you need to know about the flu shot? Read on…

What don’t I know about the flu shot?

• There is no live virus in the flu shot, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine
• The composition of the vaccine changes every year
• All vaccines in Australia must pass stringent safety testing before being approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration
• The influenza vaccine can be safely given during any stage of pregnancy. Pregnant women are at the increased risk of severe disease of complications from the influenza. Immunising against influenza during pregnancy not only protects the mother but provides ongoing protection to a newborn baby for the first six months after birth

I had the flu shot last year. Do I need to get it again this year?

You should get the flu shot every year because the flu virus is constantly changing. Every year, the flu vaccine changes to match the flu virus that is anticipated to be circulating in the coming winter.

What does the flu shot protect me from?

• The influenza vaccine prevents influenza infection but not other viruses like colds and gastroenteritis
• Influenza is a highly contagious disease that kills more Australians per year than road accidents. It is estimated that 1500-3500 die from influenza or influenza-related complications each year
• The flu vaccine can protect you against complications from existing underlying medical conditions that are brought about by contracting the flu
• Current research suggests that the flu shot seems almost halve the risk of heart attacks in middle-aged people
• Vaccination may also make your illness milder if you do get sick with the flu. No vaccine is 100% effective but it is still the single best prevention we have
• Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions

Am I eligible for a FREE flu shot?

These are the groups of Aussie who may be able to see their doctor for a FREE flu shot (keep in mind that most chemists administer flu vaccines, so too do GPs, and it will cost you $10-20 a shot):
• People aged over 65
• Children under the age of 5
• Pregnant women
• Aboriginal women
• People who suffer from asthma, diabetes and heart problems
Want more information about the flu, the flu vaccine and how to protect yourself from influenza? Book an appointment with your GP.

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