Winter is coming! As all Game of Thrones fans know that spells trouble haha … in our house winter is actually a pretty good season unless it’s interrupted by the dreaded flu.
Our children get into various winter sports and we usually do a family holiday too between school semesters, so being healthy through the colder months when the flu is most common is super helpful. We generally get the flu vaccine each autumn to try and protect our family well ahead of time.
Firstly, I take issues about our health quite seriously (I may google too much sometimes!) and I know that everyone arrives at their own decision about immunisation, which I fully respect. In my opinion, the science falls strongly on the side of immunisation being the most effective community defense against diseases.
Many people speak lightly of getting the flu, but influenza is actually quite a serious disease, with the Influenza Specialist Group reporting the flu causes an estimated 18,000 hospital admissions and 1,500 to 3,500 deaths in Australia each year (Source). It’s even estimated to cause almost as many deaths than accidents on Australian roads (Source). WOW I did not know that … imagine the resources that go into reducing the road toll compared to this.
These figures are really shocking and the people whose lives are claimed by the flu each year are already particularly vulnerable… the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases. But the best chance those people have of staying healthy is for the rest of us to stay healthy too.
Two of my good friends, Peebo and Dagwood, have had double lung transplants and they would be in dire straits if they caught a winter infection of Influenza. Wanting to spend time with them is enough motivation for me!
About flu vaccines
There are actually two types of vaccines; there is the trivalent vaccine, which protects against three strains of influenza, and the quadrivalent vaccine which protects against four strains of influenza viruses.
Dr Ginni Mansberg says there are some flu vaccines available for children, but the best advice comes from your family doctor.
The best time to book your appointment with your doctor is March to May in preparation for the winter season, as it takes some time for your immune system to develop antibodies. Some workplaces (like mine) organise special sessions for those who want to get their flu vaccine and quite often for free – something you should definitely consider taking advantage of.
We also do lots of other things to help protect against infection. Good hand washing and personal hygiene and where possible, avoid crowds during the influenza season.1
Here’s hoping the regime works again this flu season and we can skate through with a few colds but without a full blown flu. If you have some family members susceptible to the dreaded man-flu … you better be doubly diligent haha.
Now is the best time to vaccinate against the flu, so think about setting up an appointment with your GP to chat through your options to protect you and your family this winter! For more info on flu vaccinations please see your healthcare professional or head over to http://vaccinehub.com.au/flu