Are You at High Risk for Influenza?   

Are You at High Risk for Influenza?

The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated every year.
The ‘flu shot', an inactivated vaccine (containing dead viruses), is given to protect you against influenza, an epidemic disease that causes widespread illness every year. Vaccination is recommended as the virus is highly contagious and spreads easily.

The most effective way to prevent influenza is by getting the flu shot. The influenza vaccine can prevent 70-90% of influenza-specific illnesses among healthy adults, while reducing complications and fatalities among the elderly by 60-80%.

At high risk
While everyone should get the flu vaccine, it is especially important for certain groups of people because they are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications such as pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends annual vaccination for the following priority groups:

● Elderly individuals aged 65 and older.
● Residents and caregivers in nursing homes or other care facilities.
● Individuals with medical conditions like chronic heart, lung, kidney, liver or metabolic diseases, severe asthma, and those with compromised immune systems.
● Pregnant women.
● Hospital patients and staff and other healthcare workers.
● Children aged six months to two years.

Individuals with the following circumstances would also do well to get the flu shot:

● People who are travelling.
● People living or working in close contact with those who are at high risk of contracting influenza.
● Home caregivers of children too young to be vaccinated (infants younger than 6 months).

A safe vaccine
Serious side-effects or allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare. However, minor side-effects may occur, which begin soon after the shot is administered and usually last for one or two days. These include:

● Soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given.
● Low-grade fever.
● Muscle ache.
● Drowsiness or fatigue.

If you are concerned about your reaction or your loved one's reaction to the vaccine, see your doctor immediately. 

Happy reading,

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