25 Apr, 2024

Winter Wellness - Flu Immunisations

Banner image flu shots winter wellness

Winter's coming to Aotearoa, which means flu season is on its way. Here in Aotearoa, the flu is a common illness that can cause health problems, and Māori and Pacific people aged 55 or older are at a higher risk. This resource will help you understand what the flu is, who needs to be careful, how to stay safe, and where you can get a flu shot.

Symptoms of the flu

The Flu comes on quickly with symptoms that keep individuals in bed for a week or more. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea - more common in children than in adults

Is the flu serious?

The flu is very serious and can affect anyone, but some people are at higher risk, particularly:

  • pregnant women
  • people with medical conditions
  • people who are significantly overweight
  • Māori and Pacific people aged 55 and over
  • people aged 65 years or over
  • pēpi and tamariki under 5 years
  • those with serious mental health or addiction issues.

If a pregnant woman catches the flu, there can be serious complications that can affect the baby. Complications can include:

  • premature birth
  • low birthweight
  • miscarriage or stillbirth.

If you are pregnant, it's recommended that you receive the flu immunisations at any stage of your pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby.

How do I protect myself from the flu?

It's recommended to get immunised yearly before and during flu season to reduce the risk of getting the flu. Other prevention methods include:

  • washing hands or using sanitizer before touching your face.
  • using tissues and throwing it in the bin
  • covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow.
  • regularly cleaning surfaces.
  • staying home if sick.
  • maintaining distance from sick individuals

How the flu immunisation works

Even if you're healthy and active, you can still catch the flu. This can then spread to at risk people including pregnant women, babies, elderly people, and those who have health conditions. To lower the number of people getting sick or going to the hospital, it's recommended to get the new flu immunisation created each year to match the new strain.

Where to go for your flu immunisation?

Flu vaccines are readily available from your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider. People aged 3 and older can also visit pharmacies for their immunisation. Starting from Tuesday April 2nd 2024, flu immunisations will be free for:

  • pregnant women
  • anyone over the age of 65
  • adults with health conditions
  • adults with an autoimmune disease
  • anyone with mental illness

To book your flu immunization, visit The Fono Medical.

For more information, follow the links below.