Help fight the flu with a jab

CAREFLIGHT medical specialists are urging all Australians, not just the frail or elderly, to get this year's flu vaccine, and they're speaking from experience.

"I have had swine flu and I can tell you it's not nice," CareFlight clinical director Doctor Tim Harraway said.

"It really stood out from a regular cold with the aches, pains and fevers.

"And it's very serious - the person I contracted it from died."

Dr Harraway is urging everyone to get the flu vaccination now, before the flu season starts.

The flu vaccine became available from March 15 and is free for anyone who is:

Aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander decent from 15 years of age, pregnant or aged 6 months and over with one or more of the following medical conditions:

  •  heart disease
  •  severe asthma
  •  chronic lung condition
  •  chronic illness requiring medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the past year
  •  diseases of the nervous system
  •  impaired immunity
  •  diabetes
  •  Children aged 6 months to 10 years who are on long-term aspirin therapy (*Australian Govt Health Department)

The cost for everyone else is between $20 and $25.

"I have a flu injection every year," Dr Harraway said.

"It's certainly value for money.

"The vaccine supplements your own immune system and ensures, like me, that you don't get immunised the hard way by catching it."

Contact your local GP for details or the go online to www.health.gov.au.



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