Shot of a frustrated businesswoman using a tissue to sneeze in while being seated in the office
Shot of a frustrated businesswoman using a tissue to sneeze in while being seated in the office

Is it too late to get the flu shot?

Aussies have been hit hard with the flu this year, and while it's easy to think the end is in sight, a doctor has warned the worst is yet to come.

Even though we are well into winter and you may have escaped the flu so far, there is no time like the present to get your flu vaccine.

"It is very important for anyone who hasn't had their flu vaccine to get it as soon as possible," Dr Richard Kidd, chair of the AMA Council of General Practice, told news.com.au.

He said the peak was usually between July and September.

"That's when we get the biggest numbers by far - and the worst is yet to come," he warned.

"That's the pattern we see year in, year out."

"Last year we were expecting a horror flu season but it didn't happen - it looks like we're getting it this year instead."

Each year there are about 30 or more different strains of influenza, and Dr Kidd said the flu vaccine specifically protected people against four of the worst strains - two for influenza A and two for the influenza B.

READ MORE: Stay home if you are sick

IS IT TOO LATE TO GET THE JAB IF YOU'VE ALREADY COPPED THE FLU?

Dr Kidd said anyone who hadn't had the jab but had suffered a bout of the flu should still consider having a shot.

"It's still very important for anyone who hasn't had the flu jab to get it and certainly for those groups of people who got it in the beginning of the season - they should be thinking of getting a second dose," he told news.com.au

"Risk groups like young children and pregnant women who may have got a dose last year really need to get this year's to protect them and their baby."

WHY DO YOU SOMETIMES GET SICK AFTER A FLU SHOT?

Experts are quick to debunk any suggestion you can get the flu because of the jab.

 

More Aussies are flocking to get the flu jab this year, with experts warning it could get worse.
More Aussies are flocking to get the flu jab this year, with experts warning it could get worse.

Allen Cheng, a professor in infectious diseases epidemiology at Monash University, and Professor Katherine Kedzierska, an academic who studies microbiology and immunology at the University of Melbourne - have shut down that flu myth in The Conversation.

They explained there were several reasons why some people felt a bit worse for wear after their flu shot, with one reason being the flu shot only protects against influenza and not other respiratory illnesses that may cause similar cold or flu symptoms.

Another reason is stimulating the immune system can result in symptoms similar to that of influenza, although much milder and short-lived.

"In some people, particularly those who are older and those who have weakened immune systems, antibody production is not as strong, and the level of protection is lower," the report said.

Experts say getting an annual flu shot is the best way to avoid the flu.

 

Children and pregnant women who got the flu jab last year have been advised to get this year’s jab as each year there are about 30 or more different strains of influenza.
Children and pregnant women who got the flu jab last year have been advised to get this year’s jab as each year there are about 30 or more different strains of influenza.

SA FLU VACCINE DISTRIBUTION HITS RECORD

A record 613,000 flu vaccines have been distributed to South Australian doctors, as the horror flu season continues.

Nearly 19,000 influenza cases have been reported during the 2019 season compared with 1500 at the same time in 2018. Of those, 44 patients have died. In response, SA Health has distributed 102,000 more doses of flu vaccine than in 2018.

Despite the surge in vaccine numbers and no anticipated shortage, director of communicable diseases Dr Louise Flood said those who still needed a flu jab could have to shop around.

"It's not unusual during the flu season for people to have to look around for a GP or immunisation provider that has the vaccine in stock," she said. "When you make an appointment, let the clinic know that you are after a flu shot, and they will be able to advise whether they can provide the vaccine to you."


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