Six things to consider when choosing to have the influenza vaccine
Posted on 25th September 2023 at 09:23
The flu season is upon us, and there's no better time to consider the importance of protecting yourself and your workforce from the influenza virus.
The NHS recommends getting flu jabs in the autumn or early winter, before flu starts spreading. However, with the recent emergence of a new Covid variant, the recommendation for more vulnerable people is to start sooner for 2023.
However, even with the availability of flu vaccines, take-up among working-age adults is patchy, even for those who are eligible for a free one. Some employers also offer flu jabs for their staff, recognising the impact that having a staff member off with flu can have an impact on their business and on colleagues who will need to cover for them. And when the employee is back, it’s fair to say they’re not going to feel 100% straight away.
Flu can cause a sudden high temperature, headache and general aches and pains, tiredness and a sore throat. Sufferers can also lose their appetite, feel nauseous and have a cough. While symptoms peak after two to three days, sufferers can often feel ill for over a week and feel tired for longer.
It’s natural to wonder whether it’s worth getting a flu jab - here are some factors you might want to take into consideration.
Having the flu vaccination means that, well, you can protect yourself against flu. Anyone who has had flu will tell you it’s more than ‘just a bad cold’ - it can make you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal.
Look after your loved ones. By getting vaccinated, you could reduce the risk of spreading the flu to your family, friends, and colleagues. Flu is extremely infectious and is easily spread to other people. You're more likely to pass it to others in the first five days.
Stay on top of your game. If you don’t feel as healthy as you do normally, your productivity at work is likely to go down - this could be because you are feeling below par (and perhaps infecting your co-workers) or it could be because you need to take sick leave which puts additional pressure on colleagues.
Having flu could also affect your homelife and hobbies too. If you are sick, it means you cannot support your families or housemates as well; it may also mean your household catches it from you too. It may also mean you cannot take part in the pastimes you enjoy.
Influenza could also lead to complications like pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. Vaccination may lower this risk.
By getting the flu jab and reducing the risk of you yourself getting flu, you could also help protect those who are more vulnerable to the virus, such as the elderly and people with certain medical conditions, and those who cannot have the jab, such as children who are too young or people with a medical contraindication.
Don't wait until the flu season is in full swing, take steps now. The decision to get a flu vaccination is a personal one, but it should be an informed choice.
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