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Face a carefree winter – get a flu vaccination

  •   by Medihelp
  •   14 March 2017
  •   888 view(s)

You struggle with a scratchy throat for days and tell everyone who remarks on your hoarseness that it’s just the dust in the air irritating your sinus cavities. You down an antihistamine and buy a good nasal spray. Your throat hurts even more and you buy lozenges. You try to ignore the fatigue, but then you wake up one night with a fever, aching muscles and a throbbing headache. And you know you’re helpless in the grips of flu.

What is flu?
Flu is caused by the influenza virus. It is classified as a respiratory illness, is highly contagious and is passed on through the coughing and sneezing actions of infected people.

The symptoms are well known:
  • Fever;
  • Cold sweats and shivers;
  • Headache;
  • Aching muscles and joints;
  • Fatigue;
  • Diarrhoea and nausea.

The role of immunisation
Health authorities worldwide agree that the best way to protect yourself against flu is a timely immunisation.

An applicable flu vaccine is produced annually to address the viruses that are expected to be in circulation. The vaccine is produced from viruses that have been rendered ineffective. It does not contain the active virus and can therefore not cause flu. Within two weeks of being vaccinated, your body will produce antibodies for when you are exposed to the flu virus. Depending on your general health, you will either avoid flu or you will suffer less severe symptoms and get healthy quicker if you do contract flu.

Other ways in which you can protect yourself against flu:
  • Wash your hands regularly;
  • Use a tissue when you sneeze, dispose of it and wash your hands immediately;
  • Try not to touch surfaces such as public counters and the rails of stairs and escalators;
  • Stop smoking;
  • Open windows and doors regularly so that fresh air can circulate, even when it is cold outside;
  • Clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces with antibacterial cleaners regularly, especially if someone in the house is already suffering from flu.

Who should be vaccinated this season?
Anybody who is at least six months old should be vaccinated against flu. It is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications such as pneumonia if they contract flu, such as:
  • People who suffer from asthma, diabetes and chronic lung diseases;
  • Pregnant women;
  • People who are older than 65;
  • People who take care of patients with chronic illnesses or live in the same house as a chronically ill person.

Avoid flu immunisation if you:
  • Are in the first trimester of pregnancy;
  • Are allergic to egg yolk;
  • Have been advised against immunisation by your doctor due to a high-risk condition.

Medihelp will pay for the cost of the vaccine from your benefits for preventive care, your savings account or your day-to-day benefits, depending on your benefit option. If you get your vaccination from a Dis-Chem or Clicks pharmacy clinic, Medihelp will also pay for the cost of administering the vaccination, as specified by the rules of your benefit option.

You can view your benefits on Medihelp’s app for members, visit Medihelp’s secured site for members or talk to a Medihelp consultant at 086 0100 678.

Get that vaccination as soon as possible and face a carefree winter!
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