The official flu season runs from April to December.
It is best to get your flu vaccine before winter, as during winter is when the flu is most active in our communities. It takes around two weeks after being immunised for the vaccine to become fully effective and the body to develop immunity- that's when you'll be best protected. If you don't manage to get the flu vaccine before winter, it is still recommended to get it in the following months.
For the best protection, you’ll need to get the flu vaccine every year because:
The flu is a viral infection passed from person to person via infected droplets commonly spread by sneezing and coughing. Direct contact with these fluids into the nose, mouth, or eyes or indirect contact through contaminated surfaces can infect a person with the flu.
Because both colds and flu share some symptoms it is easy to confuse the two, as they both occur more frequently in winter. The flu is a serious illness and is different from the common cold. A cold virus usually only affects the nose, throat and the upper chest and lasts for a few days. Flu can be a serious illness that affects the whole body and can last for a week or longer.
Flu symptoms can be severe and are not to be confused with cold symptoms – with the flu you often don’t have the energy to get out of bed.
Symptoms of flu may include a combination of the following:
Although anyone can get the flu, some people are more at risk of getting the flu than others. The Ministry of Health has identified that the following groups are at higher risk of developing complications from flu viruses and are therefore eligible for a free flu vaccine. They include those who:
*information from www.fightflu.co.nz