Ask the Pharmacist: Flu Vaccinations

Ask the Pharmacist: Flu Vaccinations

Our pharmacists answer your top questions about flu vaccinations.

Q: How can you prevent contracting the flu this Winter?

A: While there is no way to prevent the flu completely, there are certainly ways to minimise your chances of catching it. Influenza viruses are spread via small droplets in the air when a person carrying the virus sneezes, coughs or talks. Therefore, good hygiene is important in preventing the spread of it. Always cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, discard used tissues and wash your hands immediately. You may also use alcohol- based hand sanitisers and wipe down hard surfaces regularly with suitable detergent or alcohol wipes.

Apart from physically stopping the spread, we can also make sure our bodies are able to fight off the virus with an annual flu shot from your local National Pharmacies. As well as this, a balanced diet, regular exercise and taking vitamins will keep your immune system and your body fighting fit come
flu season.

Wen Xian Ng,




Q: How do I know if I have the flu or a cold?

A: Influenza (flu) and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, however, they are caused by different viruses. Generally, the flu is more severe than the common cold. Symptoms of the common cold include runny and blocked nose, sore throat, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, mild fever, headache and lethargy. Whereas flu symptoms include high fever, sweating and shivering, muscle and joint aches, lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

If you are unsure whether you have the common cold or flu come in and see your National Pharmacies pharmacist who will be able to recommend ways to help ease the symptoms.

Robyn Johns,
Senior Pharmacist,
National Pharmacies


Q: When is the best time to be vaccinated against the flu?

A: The flu vaccine is not instantly effective. It takes approximately two weeks for antibodies to develop to protect the body from the flu, so it is recommended you get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Pregnant women, the elderly and travellers can benefit from the vaccination at any time during the year and getting vaccinated later in the flu season can still be beneficial.

The 2018 influenza vaccines will be available at National Pharmacies from early March.

Stefan Renzella-Lombardi,
Pharmacist Manager,
National Pharmacies Glenunga


Q: What is in the influenza vaccine this year?

A: The influenza vaccine administered by National Pharmacies this year is the quadrivalent vaccine. This vaccine is developed to cover four strains of the influenza virus, to give you and your family the best chance of protection from the flu. All influenza vaccines used within Australia are considered “inactivated” meaning the component being injected is not alive and cannot cause disease.

There are other components contained within vaccines that are used to prevent the vaccine from being contaminated by bacteria and chemical stability, but all have been deemed medically safe.

Stefan Renzella-Lombardi,
Pharmacist Manager,
National Pharmacies Glenunga

References Question 1
1. SA Health connect/Public+Content/SA+Health+Internet/Health+ topics/Health+conditions+prevention+and+treatment/ Infectious+diseases/Flu 2. Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition 3. L Braun & M Cohen, Herbs & Natural Supplements. An evidence-based guide.

References Question 2
1. Health Direct colds-and- u 2. PSA Self Care Card- Colds and Flu

References Question 3
1. The Immunisation Handbook Australian Medicines Handbook 2017


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