It’s time to think about getting your flu
shot. Flu shots are available from 15 March 2014
from GP surgeries and other immunisation providers. It’s important to get the flu shot every year
because the flu virus is constantly changing. Each year the flu vaccine changes too. The flu (influenza) is a virus that spreads
from person to person through the air and on your hands. If you get the flu you might get a high fever,
bad cough, joint pains, body aches, have difficulty breathing and feel really tired. Most people only get sick for a week but some
people get sicker and need to go to hospital. The flu can cause pneumonia or bronchitis,
and can make some existing illnesses worse. Some people can die from the flu. But the flu can be prevented. The flu shot protects you from three different
types of flu and does not contain any live virus so you cannot get flu from the vaccine. Everyone from 6 months of age can have the
flu shot to reduce their risk of flu. There are some people at higher risk of complications
from flu so the Australian Government provides free flu shots under the National Immunisation
Programme for these groups. Free flu shots are available for: People 65 Years and Over. People aged 65 years
and over have the highest risk of complications associated with seasonal flu. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Persons.
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 15 years of age and over are eligible
for free flu shots. Flu is a major cause of preventable sickness
and death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Pregnant Women. The flu vaccine is recommended
for pregnant women and can be safely given during any stage of pregnancy. Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe
complications associated with the flu. Vaccinating against flu during pregnancy also
provides protection for babies during their first vulnerable months of life. People Medically at Risk. People with some
existing medical conditions are more likely to experience complications from flu. These include anyone who is 6 months of age
and over who has: Heart disease.
Severe asthma. Chronic lung condition.
Chronic illness requiring medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the past year.
Diseases of the nervous system. Impaired immunity.
Diabetes. Children aged 6 months to 10 years on long-term
aspirin therapy are also at risk of complications from flu. It’s best to get your flu shot in autumn so
your body has time to protect itself before the flu season starts in winter. For more information about the 2014 seasonal
influenza vaccine talk to your immunisation provider, visit immunise.health.gov.au or
call the Immunise Australia Information line: 1800 671 811