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Say Hello to a Flu-Free Winter!

Available in store now

Protect your whole family from Flu this year... call into your local LloydsPharmacy and say hello to the people that know all about staying well this winter.

ABOUT THE FLU AND THE VACCINE

Seasonal flu is a highly infectious respiratory illness caused by a variety of different flu viruses. It spreads rapidly through droplets dispersed by the coughs and sneezes of infected people.

Each year, a vaccine is developed to protect against the strains of flu virus that are expected to be most prevalent that winter. This year a quadrivalent vaccine is being used. This has four flu strains, one being H1N1 i.e. the swine flu. This is used not just in Ireland, but throughout the Northern hemisphere.

The entire process of developing the seasonal flu vaccine is led, organised and overseen by the World Health Organization (WHO).

IS THE VACCINE SAFE?

Flu vaccines have excellent safety records; the most common reactions are a sore arm or possibly feeling hot.

The most common side effects will be mild and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. Some people may have mild sweating and shivering as their immune system responds to the vaccine, but this is not flu and will pass after a day or so.

It is also important to note that the flu vaccine cannot give you flu.

This year’s seasonal flu jab is no different from any other in terms of the risk it presents and has been thoroughly tested and approved for use in Ireland.

The HSE recommends that everyone who is eligible for a seasonal flu vaccine has it as soon as possible.

WHO SHOULD GET THE FLU VACCINATION?

While everyone should consider getting a flu vaccine, it’s especially important that the following at-risk groups get vaccinated:

Persons aged 65 and over

Those aged 6 months and older with a long-term health condition such as
• Chronic heart disease (this includes anyone who has a history of having a heart attack or unstable angina)
• Chronic liver disease
• Chronic renal failure
• Chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
• Chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
• Diabetes mellitus
• Down syndrome
• Haemoglobinopathies
• Morbid obesity i.e. body mass index (BMI) over 40
• Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including asplenia or splenic dysfunction

Children aged 6 months and older
• with any condition (e.g. cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injury, seizure disorder, or other neuromuscular disorder) that can compromise respiratory function especially those attending special schools/day centres with moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy and intellectual disability
• on long-term aspirin therapy (because of the risk of Reyes syndrome)

Pregnant women (vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
Healthcare workers
Residents of nursing homes and other long-stay institutions
Carers (the main carers of those in the at-risk groups)
People with regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl

THE FLU VAC AND PREGNANCY

This winter it is recommended that all pregnant women should have the seasonal flu vaccine irrespective of their stage of pregnancy.

This is because there is good evidence to suggest that pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they develop flu.

Studies have also shown that the inactivated flu vaccine can be safely and effectively administered during any trimester of pregnancy. The vaccine itself does not present an increased risk of complications to either the mother or baby.

WHO SHOULD NOT HAVE THE VACCINATION?

The vaccine should not be given to those with a history of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of its constituents.

If you are ill with a high fever, do not have your flu jab until you have recovered.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE VACCINATION?

Administration of the Flu Vaccine is free to all Medical Card, Doctor Visit Card & HAA cardholders who are over 65 or who belong to one of the at-risk groups. **Ask your local LloydsPharmacy pharmacist about getting the flu vaccination this year and check if you are entitled to receive it for FREE.

ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

The seasonal flu jab does not usually cause side effects.

Sometimes, it can cause mild fever and slight muscle aches for a day or so.

The flu vaccine cannot cause flu, as there is no active virus in a flu vaccine. However, people sometimes catch other flu-like viruses or very occasionally catch flu before the vaccine takes effect.

Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare.

HOW IT PROTECTS YOU

About a week to 10 days after you have had the flu injection, your body starts making antibodies to the virus in the vaccine.

Antibodies are proteins that recognise and fight off germs that have invaded your blood, such as viruses. They help protect you against any similar viruses you then come into contact with.

The flu virus changes every year, so you need to have a flu jab annually to make sure that you are protected against the latest strain of the virus.

HOW MUCH DOES THIS SERVICE COST?

• If you are over 65 years, or an at-risk patient aged 18-64, who holds a Medical Card, Doctor Visit Card or has HAA eligibility, winter flu vaccination is FREE.
• If you are over 65, or one of the at-risk patients aged 18-64, and are not eligible for any of the above schemes, winter flu vaccination costs €15.
• For all other customers over 18 years outside of the categories above, winter flu vaccination costs €20.

Please call your local LloydsPharmacy to make an appointment for your vaccination or you can make an appointment in store.

**Discuss with your pharmacist for suitability.