Did you know that the flu contributes to an average of 13,500 hospitalisations and more than 3,000 deaths each year among Australians aged over 50?
So, it stands that if you or a loved one fall within the high-risk groups described below, then the most effective way to avoid the inconvenience of having the flu or potential associated health risks is to book at appointment with your visiting doctor or GP and have your free flu shot.
Individuals at risk, who are eligible for a free flu vaccine include:
- Persons aged 65 or over
- Pregnant women
- Persons who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and are aged 6 months to less than 5 years, or 15 years and older
- Persons aged 6 months and older with specified medical conditions that put them at increased risk of influenza complications
Influenza spreads from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing or by direct contact with the virus on hard surfaces or people’s hands. The flu usually differs from a cold, as symptoms develop suddenly and can lead to complications such as chest infections and pneumonia – particularly amongst the elderly and individuals living and working in aged care homes.
Whilst the flu vaccine is only 60% effective, it is still the best method to protect yourself against the flu this coming season. It is imperative that you have a flu vaccine annually as the virus is always changing. Thankfully more than 70% of individuals over 65 are vaccinated each year, but we still need to increase this percentage to safeguard ourselves and reduce the spread of the virus.
If you have any concerns that you may fall into a high risk category for influenza or are interested in finding out about influenza vaccinations for individuals within aged care homes, we urge to you make an appointment with your visiting doctor or GP for more information.