What is Flu & Who is at risk?
What is flu?
Seasonal flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus.
The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains, headache, weakness and exhaustion. Symptoms can last for up to one week. You may need to stay in bed until your symptoms get better. Flu affects people of all ages. In some people flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia.
How serious is flu?
The Flu virus is an unpredictable virus.
If you are healthy you will usually recover in 7 days. But Flu can be severe and can cause serious illness and death.
Complications of flu include bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and rarely acute encephalopathy (swelling of the brain).
Serious complications of flu are more likely if you have a chronic medical condition or if you are aged 65 years or older. Pregnant women are also at increased risk of flu complications.
In Ireland, between 200 and 500 people, mainly older people, die from flu each winter.
Every year, around the world, flu causes between 3 and 5 million cases of severe disease and up to 646, 000 deaths.
At risk groups
Flu is more severe in people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, and anyone with a long-term medical condition. The HSE is urging people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine.
- People aged 65 years and over
- Pregnant women
- People (adults and children) with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, liver, kidney disease, cancer, chronic lung disease including COPD, or neurological diseases
- People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment including cancer patients
- Persons who are obese who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40
- People with Down syndrome
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-stay institutions
- Healthcare workers
- Carers and household contacts of people at medical risk of the complications of flu
- People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs
How flu is spread
If you are carrying the virus, you can spread it by coughing or sneezing. This can happen from 1-2 days before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after symptoms develop.
Flu can survive on worktops and objects, especially in low temperatures and low humidity. You can get flu by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can live on a hard surface for up to 24 hours and a soft surface for around 20 minutes.
The difference between a cold and the flu
Flu symptoms come on suddenly with a fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. A cold usually starts gradually with a sore throat and a blocked or a runny nose. Symptoms of a cold are generally mild compared to flu.
People in the At-Risk Group
You are in the at-risk group if you:
- are 65 years of age and over
- are pregnant
- have a long-term medical condition – for example, a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease or cancer
- have a weak immune system – for example, if you have diabetes or you’re having chemotherapy
- live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- are obese and have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40
- are a child with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
- were born with Down syndrome
Flu Vaccination Steps in the Pharmacy
What to expect when getting vaccinated at R. Keating Pharmacy
With COVID-19 still rampant , we are preparing for a flu season like no other, we need to introduce some new safety measures into your flu shot procedures this year to keep up with the high demand and most importantly to keep you the patient and staff members safe from coronavirus while administering the flu shots.
We are moving to an appointment-only model, to make it easy for you to reserve an appointment via our website and facebook or a phone call to any of our pharmacies, where we can help them book the appointment.
Pharmacy Phone Numbers:
Daarwood (Newcastlewest): 069-78200
Southside (Roxboro): 061-404729
Ballycasey (Shannon): 061-363853
This section is very important to ensure that the patient is eligible to receive the vaccine in the pharmacy.
All necessary personal information from you is entered while you are making the appointment to minimize the time they have to spend inside the pharmacy
You will have access to all the necessary information to make an informed decision on the vaccination procedure at the Booking stage (PIL, HSE flu info links below)
The consent form will be filled out and be available for you to review and ready to sign upon arrival
The Vaccine is prepared for your appointment to reduce wait time
You will be required to wear a face covering and confirm that you have no symptoms or have not been in contact with anyone infected with COVID 19
You will receive your vaccination in the designated area of the pharmacy which we have assigned the consultation room, which is prepped and sterilized between each appointment
The most common side effects are mild and short in duration. The patient may develop soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. If necessary, these symptoms can be treated with an ice pack or simple analgesics, e.g., paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Mild symptoms such as headache, fever, aches, tiredness, mild sweating, and shivering may occur, generally within 6 to 12 hours of vaccination and lasting 48 hours. Patients confuse these symptoms with the flu, but it is the body responding to the vaccine. These symptoms may be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen
We ensure that you/the patient is feeling well and is advised to wait for 15 minutes in the vicinity of the pharmacy in case of any major adverse reactions, as we are trained to deal with such situations.
All patients will receive a Vaccine Record Card upon leaving
If details are provided, we will notify your GP within 7 days, that you/the patient has received the influenza vaccine. The HSE will also be notified within 7 days.
Flu and cold symptoms
|Fever||High fever lasts 3-4 days||Rare|
|General aches, pains||Usual; often severe||Slight|
|Fatigue, weakness||Can last up to 2-3 weeks||Quite mild|
|Extreme exhaustion||Early and prominent||Never|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Common; can become severe||Mild to moderate;