Not too late for flu vac­cine

The New Age (Gauteng) - - NEWS - LER­ATO DIALE ler­a­tod@the­newage.co.za

SOUTH Africans have been urged to get their flu vac­ci­na­tions, with doc­tors say­ing if you have not had your flu vac­ci­na­tion, it’s not too late to do so.

This as the win­ter sea­son starts to set in.

In­fluenza or flu as its com­monly known can lead to hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion or even death.

It is es­ti­mated that the flu kills be­tween 6000 and 11000 peo­ple in South Africa ev­ery year.

Symp­toms in­clude cough, mus­cle aches, runny nose, headaches and con­ges­tion among oth­ers.

Those who are at risk in­clud­ing the el­derly, preg­nant women, small chil­dren and those with chronic dis­eases such as di­a­betes have also been urged to get vac­ci­nated.

Johannesburg based doc­tor Buhle Beba stressed the im­por­tance of get­ting vac­ci­nated against flu say­ing “it means less cases for us”.

“You are not only avoid­ing get­ting sick and the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing hos­pi­talised or even death, you are re­duc­ing the num­ber of peo­ple who present with flu at our fa­cil­i­ties,” Dr Beba said.

“We usu­ally get a lot of flu cases right in the mid­dle of win­ter, so it’s not too late to get vac­ci­nated now.

“Of course it’s not a hun­dred per­cent but it dras­ti­cally cuts down the chances of a per­son get­ting flu,” he said.

Gen­eral prac­ti­tioner Dr Mags Mood­ley stressed the im­por­tance of get­ting vac­ci­nated early to give the vac­cine time to start work­ing.

“Peo­ple must al­ways re­mem­ber that the flu vac­cine takes four to five weeks to ac­ti­vate in your sys­tem, for your body to build an­ti­bod­ies so it’s bet­ter to take it around Fe­bru­ary, March, April be­fore the flu sea­son starts,” he said.

Dr Beba said the du­ra­tion of flu was de­pen­dent on var­i­ous fac­tors such as the per­son with the flu, the strain of flu and what the per­son was do­ing to com­bat flu.

Beba rec­om­mended drink­ing a lot of flu­ids and bed rest.

Those with chronic ill­ness have been ad­vised to seek med­i­cal help should they ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere flu symp­toms.

Chil­dren and the el­derly are of­ten the hard­est hit by flu.

It is es­ti­mated that South Africa loses more than R2bn each year due to colds and flu.

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