The Flu Vaccination helps prevent you getting the flu and having to experience symptoms or take time to recover – the Flu Vaccination reduces your risk of getting the flu. Although the Flu Vaccination does not prevent 100% of all flu cases, people who have been vaccinated and who catch a strain of the flu they are vaccinated against tend to have less severe symptoms which usually improve within a shorter period of time.
Getting the flu can be dangerous for some people – although it’s a common viral infection, the flu can cause serious complications in children, the elderly, those with a weakened immune system and pregnant women. For these groups, the Flu Vaccination offers protection not only from the flu but helps to reduce the risk of more serious illness and the secondary complications of flu, like pneumonia.
What happens when you do get the flu?
The flu is a common viral infection which spreads by little droplets, usually by coughs and sneezes. It is particularly common during the winter months and causes unpleasant symptoms, like fever/chills, tiredness and muscle aches which can last for days. Although the symptoms tend to clear within a week in people who are otherwise healthy, it can cause serious complications in pregnant women, elderly patients, young children and people with an impaired immune system.
What happens if I get a Flu Vaccination?
You won’t get the flu itself, but you can get some of the symptoms – the Flu Vaccination is not a live vaccine, which means you cannot get the flu from the injection. However, the vaccination may cause flu-like symptoms as a side effect. The side effects of the flu jab tend to be mild and they usually pass within days. If you get an injection, the injection site may be red and sore for a few days after you have received your vaccine. Your nurse will also give more information about potential side effects.
Which symptoms does the flu cause?
The flu can cause a range of symptoms – the symptoms can be mild or severe and they usually improve within a week. Symptoms of the flu include:
Stomach pain and digestive problems such as diarrhoea
Loss of appetite
How long do symptoms normally last?
Although the symptoms tend to improve significantly within seven days, you may find that you feel tired for a while after an episode of the flu. If you’re worried your symptoms are severe or not improving, seek medical advice.
Is it flu symptoms or a cold?
The flu is often confused with the common cold, which can cause very similar symptoms. When you have a cold, your symptoms tend to be milder and they usually come on gradually.
When to get vaccinated
You can be vaccinated at any time during the flu season (September – March). The best time to get vaccinated is September – early November.
One dose (children under 9 years old, who have not previously been vaccinated against influenza, will require a second booster dose which can’t be earlier than 4 weeks after the first dose).
The Flu Vaccination is developed to protect against current common strains of the flu every year. You can have a vaccination every year.
How it is given
The Flu Vaccination is given as an injection in the upper arm, and protects against the most common strains of the virus.
The Flu Vaccination can cause side effects, such as mild flu symptoms, but it is an inactive vaccine so can not cause flu itself. The injection can cause redness, pain, and swelling at the injection site.
The Flu Vaccination is suitable for children over the age of six months.