Flu prevention is important and the best way to avoid influenza is to get flu shots. Find out everything you need to know about them.
Every year, along with autumn come the first cases of flu. Many people underestimate it, because they think there is nothing risky about a little bit of a fever. This is true only in part, because the virus can be very dangerous and immunocompromised individuals, such as the elderly and children, may develop severe complications. Therefore, prevention is extremely important and the best way to do it is to get flu shots. The flu vaccine contains 3 or 4 strains of the virus which will be responsible for the seasonal flu, according to the experts’ previsions. In this case, flu shots are not mandatory. In Italy, every year the Ministry of Health promotes a pro-vaccine campaign, not only for people at risk, but also for those around them. Let’s see everything there is to know about the vaccine.
As in previous years, the main flu symptoms are high, sudden fever, difficulty in breathing, cough, sore throat and intestinal disorders. The virus spreads by air, when infected people expel droplets of saliva by sneezing, coughing or simply talking.
In order to avoid infections, you should wash your hands often, especially after using public transports, avoid crowded places and try not to stay near recovering people. Unfortunately, these precautions are not always enough and getting the flu shot becomes necessary.
Flu vaccine: how, where and when
The best time to get flu shots is from mid-October to December, before the peak of infection, around January. You can ask your doctor or buy it at the pharmacy, and then ask your doctor for an intramuscular injection. In Italy, the price goes from 12 to 18 euros.
People at risk, who are entitled to the get the vaccine for free, can go to their Local Health Authority and request the exemption.
Who can get the flu vaccine for free?
In Italy, people entitled to free flu vaccines are:
– women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy;
– people between 6 months and 65 years old, at risk of health complications;
– people over 65 years old;
– long-term care patients;
– children and adolescents undergoing acetylsalicylic acid treatments in the long term;
– doctors and health care personnel;
– family members of people at risk;
– police officers and firefighters;
– blood donors.
Flu vaccine side effects
After 6-12 hours from the shot, you may experience some mild side effects, such as fever and nausea. Children under 6 months, people who already experienced allergies to the vaccines, and people with Guillain-barré syndrome should avoid the vaccine.
Do not get shots in case of fever and colds. In these cases, it is better to postpone the vaccine until after your recovery.