Seasonal ‘Flu

What follows is general information and advice about ‘Flu. Specific up to the minute news of ‘Flu Clinics will be advertised on this website during the ‘Flu season


What is The Flu or Influenza?

Influenza ('Flu) is an illness caused by the influenza virus. There are different strains of influenza virus. They are transmitted by coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of influenza include a high temperature (fever), muscle aches, cough, headache and extreme tiredness. (Up to date links are at the bottom of the page).

Most people recover fully, but complications such as a chest infection or pneumonia develop in some cases. Complications are sometimes serious and can even be fatal in some cases. Complications are more likely to develop in the elderly and also in people with some underlying medical problems such as chest or heart conditions. Many people in the UK die each year (mostly elderly people) from the complications of influenza.

Each winter a different strain of the influenza virus causes an outbreak of influenza which affects many people. This is called seasonal 'flu. Vaccine is prepared by manufacturers under instruction from the Government as to which strains should be included in the vaccine (which itself is largely determined by strains circulating in the Southern Hemisphere during their winter season)

Go NHS Choices 'Flu Information for more information

Immunisation against Seasonal 'Flu

'Flu immunisation (the "'Flu jab") gives excellent protection against seasonal 'flu and lasts for one year.The vaccine is normally ready and given in October and November each year. It is made from the strain of influenza virus that is expected in the coming winter.

Each year this is slightly different so a new vaccine needs to be made annually. You need a yearly immunisation to keep protected.

'Flu immunisation does not prevent other virus infections which can cause coughs, colds and 'Flu-like illnesses. It protects only against the influenza virus that is expected in the coming winter. The vaccine does not actually contain any living influenza virus.This means that it cannot cause 'flu or any other infections. It is a coincidence if you develop a cough or cold shortly after having a 'flu immunisation.It usually takes up to two weeks for your body to develop full protection against the influenza virus after the vaccine is given.

Are there any Side-Effects from Seasonal 'Flu Immunisation?

Immunisation against the seasonal influenza virus usually causes no problems. You may have a temporary mild soreness at the injection site.

Sometimes, it can cause a mild fever and slight muscle aches for a day or so. This soon settles and does not lead to flu or other problems.

Serious reactions have been reported but are rare. For example, a severe allergic response,  inflammation of nerves and inflammation of the brain are very rare reactions.

The influenza vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines; it is often given at the same time as the pneumonia vaccine. It is also safe to give if you are either pregnant or breast-feeding.

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