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Get the shot!

Flu season is almost upon us, and health experts are advising people — especially those with impaired immunity — to make sure they protect themselves and get the jab.

This year, vaccinations are easier to obtain than ever. For the first time, all pharmacies in Australia will be able to administer the flu shot.

“If you find that you are time poor, and you can’t go to your doctor’s surgery to get your flu shot, go to your local pharmacy and get your flu shot as soon as possible before the winter season,” said Rich Samimi of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. The vaccination process takes around 15 minutes.

There are four strains in this year’s vaccine: two influenza A viruses, and two influenza B viruses. Studies indicate the vaccine to be 70 percent effective. It’s important that people get vaccinated early so as to develop immunity before transmission of influenza is at its highest (between August and September). Already, more than 7,000 people in Australia have been diagnosed with flu this year — 1,000 more than the same period in 2016.

Seasonal influenza is highly contagious and is responsible for around 3,000 deaths a year in Australia. People living with HIV have a high risk of developing complications from influenza, experts warn. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, severe cough, headaches, muscle aches and pains, and a sore throat.

The 2017 flu shot is available now.

For more information go to flusmart.org.au

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