Tuesday was flujab day.
A seemingly insignificant day in most people’s calendars. However, I feel it’s an important one to share.
Last winter saw a huge surge in UK hospital admissions (5,300 by February alone) for flu, and almost 3 times the number of deaths from flu related illness as was recorded the previous year. This was due to a particularly nasty mix of strains of flu breaking out concurrently across the country, coupled with some awful weather. GPs and hospitals were swamped, putting additional strain on the resources of our lovely NHS.
Despite not having any of the medical conditions which increase the risk of developing complications from flu, I can verify (from experience) that having flu is grim. I’m keen to avoid that situation again, if at all possible.
So, therefore, I’m incredibly lucky that my workplace offered free vaccinations to all staff located in Aberdeen this year.
The appointment itself took less than 5 minutes. First, the friendly nurse discussed my overall health to check if there was any reason I shouldn’t receive the vaccine at that time. Next, she ran through some of the most common side-effects. She suggested that to reduce the possibility of developing side-effects I should keep well hydrated and not over exert myself in the gym within the next 24 hours. (She didn’t have to give me that advice twice!) The injection itself was fairly painless, delivered straight into the muscle of the upper arm. To be honest, it was very similar to most other vaccines I’ve had in recent years.
After the vaccine was delivered, I was asked to stay in the waiting area for 10 minutes to check for any adverse or allergic reactions. Once the all clear was granted I was able to skip off back to work. Job done.
Additionally, I learnt at my flu jab appointment, that by vaccinating myself I am helping to reduce the possibility of passing flu on to my colleagues, family and friends – who may be less able to fight a flu virus than I. There are also people who cannot have the flu vaccine for medical reasons, such as allergies. By helping to reduce the spread of flu, these groups will indirectly benefit also. Win, win.
While the flu vaccine cannot cause flu, as there are no live viruses within it, some people report feeling unwell after it. Personally I suffered nothing more than a ‘heavy’ arm from the injection. I believe this is the standard response, so really there’s no excuse not to get it done!
It will take 2-3 weeks now for my body to build up the correct antibodies, and develop immunity to this year’s most prominent flu virus strains. Finger’s crossed for a healthy flu-free winter ahead for all of us!
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