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Planning Retirement Online

Seasonal Flu Jab

                                        September 2010  


Seasonal Flu Jab 

flu jabWell, summer whizzed past! Now once again we are looking at getting ready for winter and one of the things that comes round on an annual basis is the question of a flu jab.

As we get older, illnesses like flu become harder to shake off. Also today, there are some really horrid strains of flu around that can really knock us about and make us feel very unwell for sometime.

This year it is forecast by the World Health Organisation that one of the main strains of seasonal flu that will hit us this winter is the H1N1 virus. This highly infectious respiratory illness is similar to other flu viruses and spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of infected people. The symptoms will be typical of many other flu strains, including possibly a fever, a chill, severe headaches, muscle aches and pains, a sense of feeling weak and tired and all the other aspects that a severe dose of flu can bring.

This year the seasonal flu jab will also offer protection against this strain of flu. The vaccine is very carefully controlled so people needn’t worry about catching the flu from the vaccine. What it will do is stimulate your body to make antibodies to fight the flu if it attacks. That means that during the winter, when you are exposed to this virus, your body is all ready to attack it quickly and stop it invading the body. The flu jab should give around 70 to 80% protection against the virus for around a year.

If you are aged 65 or over, then the vaccination is given free. It is also available free for certain at-risk people; just talk to your regular doctor to find out more.

For people who hate needles, in a year or two there may be some really good news on hand. Scientists in American have been testing hi-tech skin patches that deliver vaccines painlessly through scores of tiny needles. These microneedles deliver the vaccine and then dissolve away and it is thought that these patches could revolutionise pandemic control by allowing vaccines to be self-administered. Every year people, when they catch flu and are asked why they didn’t have the vaccination, highlight a number of reasons including the time or the effort it takes to make a doctor’s appointment and then attend, or a fear of needles. The patch will overcome these problems.

However, it is not available yet, so anyone aged 65 or over is recommended to visit their doctor for their free annual flu jab.


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