Yarrawonga Health is urging residents to prepare early for the coming flu season by ensuring their flu vaccinations are up to date.
According to CEO Elaine Mallows the typical flu season occurs from autumn to early spring.
“The length and severity of an epidemic may vary,” Ms Mallows said.
“Some lucky individuals can get through the season flu-free.
“But be prepared to be surrounded by sneezing and coughing for a few months out of every year.”
So, how does the flu vaccine work?
“The flu virus changes and adapts every year, which is why it’s so widespread and difficult to avoid,” she said.
“New vaccines are created and released every year to keep up with these rapid changes.
“Before each new flu season, health experts predict which three strains of the flu are most likely to thrive.
“They use that information to manufacture the appropriate vaccines.
“The flu shot works because it prompts your immune system to produce antibodies. “In turn, these antibodies help the body fight off the types of flu virus that are present in the vaccine.
“After receiving the flu shot it takes about two weeks for these antibodies to fully develop.”
Ms Mallows said unlike a cold, symptoms such as fever, sore throat and muscle aches develop suddenly with flu and last about a week.
“In some cases, severe illness and complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis can develop, which can result in hospitalisation and even death,” she said.
“The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.
“The flu virus can be especially dangerous for elderly people, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and very young children, as well as for people with underlying medical conditions.”
The 2017 flu vaccine is now available from GP surgeries and other immunisation providers and is recommended for everyone from six months of age.
To receive your influenza vaccination, visit your local doctor or immunisation provider.