Flu season on the way, get jabbed now

Fever, a cough, sore throat, muscle aches and headaches, are all symptoms of the common flu which may start appearing in little over a month when flu season is again expected to strike.

With this in mind, South Africans are reminded that they can get their flu jabs at their nearest Clicks and Dischem pharmacy

Flu season typically strikes between May and September.

“Flu viruses are constantly changing and each year the World Health Organisation adapts the vaccine to optimise immunity. That is why it is important to get an annual flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available to ensure protection throughout the entire season,” said Clicks pharmacist, Waheed Abdurahman.

Further symptoms include runny or stuffy noses, fatigue and sometimes even vomiting and diarrhoea.

“The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone, especially high-risk groups such as those aged over 65, children between the ages of six months and five years, pregnant women, new moms and anyone with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, asthma or HIV,” he said.

According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), pregnant women should opt for a flu shot vaccine as opposed to the nasal spray vaccine.

The flu according to the CDC is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women who are of reproductive age.

Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy can lead to pregnant women being more susceptible to severe illness from flu which could also lead to neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby.

Owing to the fact that mothers pass antibodies onto developing babies, a flu shot may also assist in protecting a new-born baby.

Abdurahman advises getting a flu vaccination and practicing sensible hygiene to reduce the spread of flu.

“For most people, flu will pass within a few days, but if you have a continued high fever or are at high risk of flu-related complications, see a doctor. Minimise contact with those affected, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with warm water and soap, and bin used tissues as quickly as possible,” he said.

Aside of its general three-strain flu vaccine, priced between R69.99 and R85, a new four-strain vaccine which allows for a broader protection against A and B influenza strains will also be available at a price of around R109.99.

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