What is influenza?
Influenza, commonly referred to as flu which is an infectious disease caused by influenza viruses. Influenza is transmitted through droplet in the air by person to person during coughing or sneezing.
Other illnesses have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for influenza. But only the influenza virus can cause influenza. For most people, the following symptoms can last only a few days, but some people get much sicker. Influenza can lead to pneumonia and can be dangerous for people with heart or breathing conditions. It can cause high fever and seizures in children.
- muscle ache
- sore throat
Influenza viruses are always changing. Therefore, influenza vaccines are updated every year, and an annual vaccination is recommended.
The best time to get influenza vaccine is from September every year.
Influenza season usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur any time from September through May. Getting the vaccine in December, or even later, will still be beneficial in most years.
It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination, and protection can last up to a year.
- Everyone from the age of 6 months
High risk groups are highly recommended to get vaccinated, they are:
- Pregnant women
- Patients with chronic illness (such as the heart, lung, kidney disease, metabolic disease and immune insufficiency)
- Healthcare providers
- Poultry workers
- Pig farmers
- Old age home residents
- Those living in residential care homes for the disabled
- 1 dose - Children age 9 years or above & Adult
- 2 dose - Children younger than 9 years of age getting influenza vaccine for the first time should have 2 doses (at least 4 weeks apart)
Some people should not get inactivated influenza vaccine or should wait before getting it.
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) - You may be able to get the vaccine, but your doctor should help you make the decision.
- If you are not feeling well - You should usually wait until recover before getting the flu vaccine. If you are ill, talk to your doctor or nurse about whether to reschedule the vaccination. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.
- Any severe or life-threatening allergies (allergic reactions to influenza vaccine are rare)
- Influenza vaccine virus is grown is eggs. People with severe egg allergy should not get the vaccine.
- A severe allergy to any vaccine component is also a reason not to get the vaccine
- If you have had a severe reaction after a previous dose of influenza vaccine, tell your doctor
The viruses in inactivated influenza vaccine have been killed, severe problems from influenza vaccine are very rare.
- Redness, pain, swelling at injection site
- Fever, aches
(If these problems occur, they usually last 1 or 2 days)
If you have the following symptoms, call your doctor or get the person to a doctor right away and tell the doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.
- High fever
- Behavior changes
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast heart beats