All you need to know about the flu shot

All you need to know about the flu shot

It's that time of the year again when the flu shot becomes a talking point. Find out more about the flu shot here...

Flu influenza

The old adage that 'prevention is better than cure' is very poignant as we head into the cold winter months in South Africa.

This is especially true when it comes to ailments like flu, with the illness set to grab a hold of many people in the coming months across the country.

That's where the flu shot comes into play.

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So, in order for you to be better informed about the flu shot before you take it, or whether you are unsure about whether you should be taking it, here are some important bits of information for you to digest:

What is influenza (flu)?

Flu is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses and is common globally. Flu spreads very easily through infected droplets omitted by coughing or sneezing. In terms of prevention, the flu shot is your best bet. The symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue.

How does the flu shot work?

Flu vaccines help the body to develop antibodies for the protection against the flu virus two weeks after you have had the flu shot. These antibodies work to protect you from infection. The vaccine is created using strains of the flu virus, so the flu shot helps your body to understand what it is exactly that it needs to protect you from.

What are the benefits of getting the flu shot?

The flu shot protects you from the harsh effects of influenza. This means that you will either avoid contracting flu altogether or you will experience a mild case of flu which will not require hospitalisation. Remember, flu can turn deadly, so it is important to protect yourself.

Who should get the flu shot?

Anyone over the age of six months is advised to get the flu shot.

When should I get the flu shot?

The ideal time for South Africans to get the flu shot is before the end of April and the winter season sets in. However, you can still get the flu shot after that point and it is advised that you still get it should you miss the end of April window.

For those planning on travelling to the Northern Hemisphere later in the year, it is advised that you get the flu shot before the end of October, which is when flu season in Europe and the like starts.

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How long does the flu shot last for?

The flu shot affords you protection for six months, on average. This means that you will need to go for a flu shot every year ahead of the winter season.

What are the different flu strains?

According to the World Health Organisation, 'There are four types of influenza viruses, types A, B, C, and D. Influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal epidemics of disease. Influenza C virus is detected less frequently and usually causes mild infections, thus does not present public health importance. Influenza D viruses primarily affect cattle and are not known to infect or cause illness in people.'

The flu shot is constantly updated to include the emergence of any new strains, meaning that the shot you receive will have taken into account new strains which may have been discovered.

Where can I get the flu shot?

The flu shot is available from your nearest Arrie Nel Pharmacy Group Clinic. Find out more HERE.

Arrie Nel and Mopani Pharmacy campaign banner
Arrie Nel / Mopani Pharmacy

This article is sponsored by Arrie Nel

Disclaimer: Health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor or pharmacist on any health-related issues.


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