Flu season and vaccinations - written by Dr Jude Ellis

The National Seasonal Influenza Immunisation Program for 2017 is now underway.

 

Risk for more severe illness or developing secondary bacterial infections are higher in certain people. The flu vaccine is free for those in the following risk groups:

 

Over 65yo

* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders > 15yo and 6mo- 5yo

* Pregnancy

* Impaired immunity

* Long term aspirin treatment in children

* Heart disease

* Diabetes

* Chronic lung disease- incl asthma and emphysema

* Chronic neurological conditions

* Chronic kidney disease

The flu vaccine is recommended to those travelling overseas, carers and anyone else who would like vaccination. It can be purchased for approximately $15 if you do not meet the above criteria for free flu vaccine. The trivalent vaccine (which protects against three strains of the influenza virus) is still available for purchase however it makes sense to request a script for the quadrivalent vaccine which provides protection against an additional strain.

The flu vaccine is not 100% effective as there may be circulating flu strains that are not included in this year’s vaccine and it is not effective at preventing routine colds. So to optimise your own immune function this winter include these ideas in your day.

* Eat whole foods and minimise or avoid processed foods.  Aim for 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day. Minimise sugar intake.

* Adequate sleep – aim for at least 7hrs each night as one of the best things you can do to optimise immune function. Just a few nights of less sleep lowers immune response.

* Healthy sun exposure to enhance vitamin d- which in winter may mean 3hrs over the course of a week - face and arms exposed to the sun- but avoid getting burnt!

* Decrease spread of flu and colds - cough into your arm sleeve - not hand and wash hands with soap frequently.

* Simple home remedies such as garlic and ginger have antiviral effects as does olive leaf extract, while manuka honey and lemon tea can be soothing.

 

Riddell Country Practice run seasonal FREE FLU VACCINE CLINICS, where your visit with the doctor is BULK-BILLED and the only cost to you is the Pharmacy charge for the vaccine (if you do not meet the criteria for the FREE government supply)

Call today to book in for one of these sessions – phone 5428 7591

 

Riddell Country Practice

9 Station Street, Riddells Creek

ph: 03 5428 7591

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