Time to combat influenza

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on May 4, 2018

INFLUENZA season is rapidly approaching and the single best way to protect yourself from the illness is to get vaccinated each year, according to WA Country Health Service (WACHS).

Population Health Director for WACHS Great Southern Sandra Crowe said flu vaccine protection is most effective during the three to four-month period after the vaccination.

She said because flu activity in WA most commonly peaks between August and September, now is the best time to get the jab.

“To get maximum benefits, the best time to get the flu vaccine is during May or early June,” she said.

“Each year, a new vaccine containing the most common strains of circulating influenza is produced, so getting vaccinated every year is important because the most common strains of the influenza virus change every year.”

Ms Crowe urged people to remember the seriousness of the highly contagious disease, which she says presents itself in the form of fever, aches, pains, cough and sore throat.

“Importantly, the vaccine is not made from a live virus, so you can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine,” she said.

The Weekender’s own Kristen Gardiner (pictured) said she will be taking up the company’s offer to provide employees with the flu vaccine, despite her slight fear of needles.

The flu vaccination is available at pharmacies and doctor surgeries across the Great Southern, including Albany’s Southern Regional Medical Group.

At SRMG, the jab will be free for people over the age of 65, pregnant women, people with a chronic health condition and for children under five.

For all other patients, the out-of-pocket expense will be just $13.50.

Participating pharmacies include Amcal, Terry White Chemmart, Priceline Pharmacy and Friendlies Pharmacy, but you can also call your GP to see whether they administer the vaccination.