What is Influenza and how will it affect me?
Flu is caused by the Influenza viruses. Flu symptoms include dry or sore throat, runny or stuffed nose, cough, headache and fever.
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets containing the flu virus are transferred to others.
Older individuals, young children, pregnant women, and those with certain health conditions are at increased risk of serious illness and death from the flu.
Who should take the influenza vaccination / flu shot?
The influenza vaccine is recommended for all healthy adults, children, and caregivers.
According to the National Adult Immunisation Schedule and National Childhood Immunisation Schedule from Ministry of Health, the flu jab or flu shot is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing influenza complications such as:
- Children aged 6 months old to 59 months
- Elderly aged 65 years and older
- Pregnant women in any trimester
- Persons with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or heart, lung, liver and kidney disease
- Persons with lower body resistance to infections due to :
- Conditions such as leukaemia, HIV, spleen removal, or organ transplant
- Using medications or receiving treatment such as taking long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs or radiation therapy
- Residents staying in intermediate or long-term care facilities
- Persons aged 18 years or younger and receiving long-term aspirin therapy
I am pregnant, can I still take the flu shot / flu vaccine?
Of course, if you have no medical problems and no previous allergies to flu vaccination, the flu shot is recommended for pregnant women in any trimester.
My child is only 6 months old, can he or she take the flu shot / flu vaccine?
Yes, if your child has no egg allergies, the flu shot is highly recommended for all kids and children from 6 months and above. Influenza can affect children badly and can potentially cause severe complications.
Complicated influenza illness may occur in certain groups of children, namely the very young, those with asthma, underlying heart or neurological problems, or weakened immune systems. In such cases, the virus can potentially cause complications such as:
- heart or brain inflammation
- worsening of any long-term health problem
- affect almost any organ in the body, resulting in serious illness or even death.
Our clinic highly recommends the flu shot for all our younger patients.
In fact, both our doctors are parents themselves and have vaccinated their daughter against influenza!
I’m not travelling, I really don’t need the flu shot / flu vaccine. True or False?
Absolutely false! Influenza circulates all around the year and our country is a travel hub. Travellers will and do bring in influenza to our country all around the year and spread influenza in our community. The best way to protect your loved ones, and yourself is to get vaccinated against influenza.
I have just done the COVID vaccine, when can I take the flu shot / flu vaccine?
The current recommendation is that of 2 weeks apart from the COVID vaccination. COVID also causes similar symptoms to influenza, but is a totally different virus. Protection against COVID does not equal to protection against influenza, so our clinic highly recommends you get vaccinated against both COVID and influenza.
When would I know that the flu vaccine is protecting me?
Usually from 7 to 10 days after vaccination, your body should produce antibodies against the 4 strains of flu virus and hence you should get protection around then.
How effective is the flu shot / flu vaccine?
This varies from year to year and your body’s response to the vaccine. Even if you “catch” the flu, it won’t be as severe if you had been vaccinated with the flu shot. Vaccination can prevent infection with the flu, but at the very least, it is unlikely that you develop severe complications if you catch the flu.
What are the influenza vaccines currently available in our clinic?
Our clinic vaccinates patients with the latest quadrivalent (4-in-1) influenza vaccine to provide comprehensive protection.
The flu shot is often injected into the upper arm for adults or outer thigh or buttock for children.
Our clinic’s 4 in 1 quadrivalent flu shot protects individuals against two strains of flu viruses commonly known as Influenza A and B.
The influenza vaccine is released two times a year – May for the Southern Hemisphere (SH), and October for the Northern Hemisphere (NH). Each new release incorporates the latest circulating Influenza A and B strains, based on surveillance data from the World Health Organization.
What are some common side effects of the flu vaccine?
Some common side effects include headache, body aches, fatigue, redness, swelling, and pain over the injection site.
However, these side effects occur in less than 10 per cent of vaccinated patients. They are often manageable at home, and will resolve within a few days. We usually advise patients to avoid exercising or any strenuous activity 1 to 2 days after vaccination.
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