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Army August 16, 2012
Watch out: The
flu virus is easily
spread by coughing,
touching a surface
an infected person
Photo by Cpl Mark Doran
THE influenza, or flu, viruses
A and B infect the nose, throat,
bronchi and lungs, causing
a high temperature, severe
muscle and joint pain, headache, sore
throat, cough and often neck stiffness.
The virus is easily spread from per-
son to person through coughing, sneez-
ing or by simply touching a su rface
which an infected person has contami-
nated with vir us-laden droplets.
Good hygiene is essential to reduce
the spread of flu, so washing your
hands thoroughly, and covering coughs
and sneezes are important to reduce the
spread of this disease.
A flu shot before or even during winter
can help to protect you from the flu.
Usually, each year the vaccine is
different because it contains the most
common strains of f lu virus prevalent
in the previous northern hemisphere
There is much discussion about the
pros and cons of vaccination, so the fol-
lowing infor mation should be consid-
ered before making a decision one way
or the other.
The f lu, contrary to popular opin-
ion, can be quite serious, often leading
to complications such as pneumonia,
even in the young and fit.
Patients may require hospitalisation
and deaths do occur.
Annual vaccination is the single best
way to protect yourself from the dis-
If you were vaccinated last year,
you still need to be vaccinated in
2012 to ensure ongoing protection, as
the effect of vaccination wears off after
Vaccination may not fully prevent
you from getting the f lu, but if you do
become ill it will significantly reduce
What about side effects?
People often worry unnecessarily about
side effects from the f lu vaccination.
Most adults notice nothing untoward
after a f lu shot, and the benefits are
The most com mon side effects are:
pain, redness or swelling at the injec-
tion site (as with most other injec-
mild fever response (the f lu shot can-
not give you the f lu)
mild muscle or joint pain
These effects last at most 1-2 days.
Remember, having the f lu shot does
NOT give you the f lu.
Defence members should not exer-
cise strenuously in the 24 hours after
any injection, including the f lu shot.
What if I don't want a flu shot?
It is important to remember that being
young and fit offers no protection
against the f lu. If you do not have the
protection of vaccination, you risk a
potentially serious disease with serious
You also r un the risk of infecting
your family, friends, and workmates.
If you do get the flu, over-the-coun-
ter remedies don't do much to change
the course of the illness, and you still
remain infectious for at least five days.
ADF members can receive a free flu vaccine
from their local Defence health centre.
Influenza season is now upon us, and Dorothy
Coote, of Joint Health, says Defence members
need to consider being vaccinated.
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