The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means: presents, vacations, travelling – oh and the flu.

The flu virus can get in the way of our plans and celebrations for the winter holidays with the runny nose, headaches, fever, sore throat and more disruptive symptoms.

The good news is that this troublesome infection can be completely prevented and all it needs is one shot of protection. The flu vaccine has now become exceedingly popular because of its effectiveness and ease of availability.

Who Needs a Flu Shot?

Anyone that has a history of infections, flu and rhinitis should receive a flu shot every 6 months. This vaccination is especially important for some specific groups of people, including:

·    Children under 5 years of age

·    Adolescents on aspirin treatment

·    Pregnant women

·    People over 55 years of age

·    Obese individuals

·    People who live in nursing centres or work in healthcare facilities.

What Does the Flu Shot Really Do?

All vaccines work in some way to boost the immune system and create certain protective substances called antibodies against the pathogen in question. The flu vaccine does the same. It stimulates your immune system to make antibodies against the influenza virus.

The vaccination doesn’t provide instant protection, though. Antibodies will typically take around 2 to 3 weeks to develop and offer protection fully.

Who Shouldn’t Get a Flu Shot?

Some people are not suited to receive a flu vaccination. These individuals include those who have had a reaction to the vaccine in the past, those with an allergy to egg or mercury, people with Guillain-Barre syndrome, and those with an active infection in the body.

Can the Flu Shot Cause Side-Effects?

There are little, if any, side effects of the flu vaccine. Some people may experience a low-grade fever, chills or a slight headache a few days after receiving their flu shot.

Other people might have developed pain or redness at the site of the injection.

Please do consult your doctor to see if Flu Vaccination is suitable for you.