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Advice Regarding the Winter Flu Vaccination

Winter can be a tough time to get through if you catch the Winter Flu or Winter Vomiting Bug. There have been reports in the media lately about how the winter flu virus is putting extra stain on hospitals and GP’s. Contracting the flu can really get you down and make you feel awful.

Each year the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) stresses that having the winter flu vaccine may help to prevent you from catching the winter flu and lessen its effects. Its still not too late to receive the vaccine from your local pharmacy in Tralee.

Common symptoms of the flu include a severe sudden fever of between 38-40C, sweating, muscle aches, joint pains, chills, feeling extremely exhausted, a dry chesty cough. The symptoms tend to be at a maximum after 2 – 3 days and you should start to feel much better after about a week.

Types of Flu

Type A

Occurs yearly and more serious than Type B. Likely to mutate to different forms of the to which people have little or no resistance to.

Type B

Tends to cause smaller and less serious outbreaks. Peoples resistance can last several years to Type B.

Type C

Mild outbreaks more similar where symptoms are similar to a the common cold.

Tissues, tea, and medicine

General Information & FAQs

Who Decides the Content of the Winter Flu Vaccine?

Each February, the World Health Organisation and the EU work together to decide on which virus strains should be contained in the flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.

Which virus is circulating?

Flu epidemics tend to take place in the USA before arriving in Ireland and this gives some scope for planning. Different strands can be more severe. For example, over the last number of winters, when Influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been more dominant, higher overall and age-specific hospitalisation rates and more mortality have been observed. This has been especially the case among older age groups, very young children, and individuals with certain chronic medical conditions compared with seasons during which Influenza A (H1N1) or Influenza B viruses have been dominant.

Why get the Vaccine?

The HPSC has warned of a significant increase in influenza-like illness within Ireland in recent weeks. They out that the increase in the winter flu highlights the need for vaccination for those most at risk of complications from flu and points out that it is not too late for persons in at-risk groups to receive the flu vaccine if they have not already done so.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

Flu symptoms come on suddenly with a fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. A cold usually starts gradually with a sore throat and a blocked or a runny nose. Symptoms of a cold are generally mild compared to flu.

Flu and cold symptoms

SYMPTOMSEASONAL FLUCOLD
FeverHigh fever lasts 3-4 daysRare
HeadacheProminentRare
General aches and painsUsual, often severeSlight
Fatigue and weaknessCan last up to 2-3 weeksQuite mild
Extreme exhaustionEarly and prominentNever
Stuffy noseSometimesCommon
SneezingSometimesUsual
Sore throatSometimesCommon
Chest discomfort and coughCommon, can become severeMild to moderate, hacking cough

Winter Flu Vaccination at CH Chemist Tralee

CH Chemists offer a winter flu vaccination service from mid-September each year. This service is free for all patients over 65 who hold a medical card or GP card. The service is also available for all private & medical card patients over 18 years of age without a prescription.

If you are in a high risk group and have a medical card, the service is free otherwise an administration fee of €15 applies; a separate additional charge applies if you are not in a high risk group.

The vaccine consists of the inactivated seasonal flu viruses expected to affect Ireland over the coming winter and offers between 70-80 percent protection against infection Contact us directly at info@chtralee.com or call +353 (0) 66 7121331 to arrange an appointment. Service subject to availability. Walk in appointments may also be available.

Advice for our Patients

Being vaccinated at our pharmacy in Tralee is likely to provide effective protection against this year’s strain of the winter flu virus; however there may still be a small chance of you catching the flu.

After vaccination it takes between 14 - 21 days to be protected against flu. You cannot catch flu from a flu vaccination.

On rare occasions, anaphylaxis may occur. We have procedures in place to deal with this.

Key Risk Groups

The following key at risk groups eligible to be vaccinated by pharmacists at CH Chemists Tralee:

  • Persons aged 65 and over
  • Pregnant women (can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • Healthcare workers
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
  • Carers
  • People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

Additionally, those aged 18 years and older with a long term health condition such as:

  • Chronic heart, liver, neurological disease including MS, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Chronic respiratory disease including cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Down syndrome
  • Haemoglobinopathies
  • Immuneosuppression due to disease or treatment including asplenia or splenic dysfunction
  • Morbid obesity i.e. body mass index over 40

What to expect at your appointment

On the day of your appointment, we will ask you to fill in a questionnaire and consent form and ask you for your PPSN and other details e.g. name of your G.P. We cannot vaccinate you if you have an egg allergy or history of anaphylaxis to any of the vaccine constituents. If you have acute severe febrile illness (for example, you are running a fever): the vaccination must be postponed until you have recovered.

The vaccine is given to your upper (non-dominant) arm by deep intramuscular injection. It’s best to wear a T-shirt or short sleeved top to allow easy access to the upper arm muscle. The vaccination itself takes less than a minute but we ask you to remain on with us for 15 minutes afterwards in the highly unlikely event of a reaction.

What about side effects?

The most common side effects and symptoms will be mild. The main symptoms include soreness, redness, or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. Some people may experience mild sweating and shivering as their immune system responds to the vaccine but this is not flu and will pass in a day or two.

Seasonal flu vaccines have been given for more than 60 years to millions of people worldwide. Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects are rare.

If you are in any doubt please ask a member of our staff when at the pharmacy here in Tralee.

Stop the Virus Spreading

Flu is spread when people cough and sneeze. People then breath in the virus or absorb it through their fingers as they settle on tables and chairs.

You can protect yourself and others by:

  • Using a tissue when you cough and sneeze
  • Discard the tissue as soon as possible
  • Clean your hands with soap and warm water regularly
  • Receive the flu vaccine

Questions

If you have any questions you can ask the Pharmacist or please call in to CH Tralee for any information you require.


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