Not too late for flu vaccine
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.