Each year in Australia, influenza causes an estimated 3,000 deaths in older people.
There are also the economic costs to communities and local businesses with more than one and a half million work days lost to influenza, 300,000 doctor visits and 18,000 people admitted to hospital every year.
Today, prevention is our major weapon against influenza.
Annual vaccination against the flu is recommended for all people, especially those in high risk categories.
Everyone 65 years or older is recommended to have the flu vaccine.
As well, at any age, you should be vaccinated if you have an ongoing illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, asthma, heart or circulation problems, or compromised immunity.
If you are unsure about whether or not you should have the vaccine, speak to your GP or pharmacist.
As in previous years, the Australian Government will provide the flu vaccine free of charge to everyone 65 years plus.
Other people that qualify for the “free allocation” also include pregnant women, indigenous people 15 years and over, and anyone six months of age and over with a condition “pre-disposing to severe influenza illness” – such as heart or lung diseases.
For more advice about whether the flu vaccine is right for you, seek pharmacies around Australia providing the Self Care health information, visit the website at www.psa.org.au or ask your local Piggotts Pharmacy.