Home // Latest News // It’s not too late to protect you and your family from the flu

It’s not too late to protect you and your family from the flu

Shae Whyte-Clarkson ended up in the Intensive Care Unit as a patient after catching the flu. 

Flu season is here and you can still get the flu vaccination to protect you and your family from the highly contagious viral infection.

Intensive Care Unit Associate Nurse Unit Manager Shae Whyte-Clarkson knows the importance of having the flu vaccine.

A few years ago she contracted influenza B and swine flu and ended up in the Intensive Care Unit but as a patient this time. Shae hadn’t had her flu shot that year but makes sure she gets it every year now.

“I get the flu vaccination yearly to protect not only myself but the patients and staff I work with and most importantly my family,” says Shae.

“This is an experience I never want to repeat. It is somewhat comforting to know I can reduce the chances significantly by having the flu vax yearly.”

“My risk factor was having adult on-set asthma and to prevent the exacerbation of this in the future is my aim.”

The flu is more severe than the common cold and can cause serious illness and lead to hospitalisation, like in Shae’s case. 

The infection can cause life-threatening complications and it is estimated that it contributes to more than 3,000 deaths in Australia each year.

Some people are at higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu. These include:

  • pregnant women
  • people aged over 65
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • children younger than five – particularly those younger than two
  • people with chronic medical conditions.

As well as protecting yourself, getting vaccinated also protects other people in the community in high risk groups.

Anyone infected is highly infectious for up to two days before they develop flu-like symptoms, so they may work and unknowingly spread the virus to others before they feel unwell.

Flu vaccination facts

  • The vaccine does not contain any live viruses and cannot give you the influenza (‘flu).
  • The influenza vaccine is altered every year as a response to the circulating influenza strains. Therefore, influenza vaccination is recommended yearly.
  • Side effects to the vaccine are generally mild and short lived. The most common is redness and/or swelling at the injection site. Less common side effects can include a headache, mild fever and sore muscles.
  • Severe adverse events such as hives and anaphylactic reactions are extremely rare.

Common symptoms of the flu

  • Sudden appearance of a high fever (38 °C or more)
  • A dry cough
  • Body aches (especially in the head, lower back and legs)
  • Feeling extremely weak and tired (and not wanting to get out of bed).
  • Chills
  • Aching behind the eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose.

To receive your influenza vaccination, visit your local doctor or immunisation provider. It is important to note that while the vaccine is free, a consultation fee may apply.