What you need to know about the flu shot - it could save you money and keep you from getting sick


Jade Poole from I Write Words


Winter is rolling in and so is flu season, we answer the question you have been asking “Do I need to get a flu shot?”

Each year as the winter months start to roll in, our days get shorter, our nights are longer (and colder) and our immune systems take a hit - we know that flu season is upon us!

Your immune system is basically your body’s system of defence against invading pathogens (which are the bad guys like viruses and bacteria). In winter, we get less vitamin D (from sunshine) and are often exposed to colder temperatures, which doctors think are the main reasons we get sick at this time in the year.

Did you know that the South African economy loses R2 billion each year because of colds and flu and the average person will miss 4.5 days of work or school from being sick?

Flu season

Do you know the difference between a cold and the flu?

Maybe this will help…

Symptoms of a cold:

●        Runny nose

●        Sneezing

●        Sore throat

●        Mild cough

●        Symptoms last one to two days

Symptoms of the flu:

●        High fever

●        Muscle aches

●        Fatigue

●        Dry cough

●        Symptoms last four to seven days

About the flu shot

Each year experts and scientists will create a new flu shot according to the suspected flu viruses to be present this flu season.

The flu virus changes every year and that is why a new vaccine needs to be created to keep up with these changes.

The flu shot will alert your body’s immune system to make the right antibodies to attack the flu virus.

Antibodies are like soldiers in your body that recognise and fight off germs that have invaded.

If your immune system is exposed to the flu virus after getting vaccinated with the flu shot, then your immune system will recognise this virus and produce the right antibodies to fight it.

Can I still get sick when after getting the flu shot?

Sometimes it can happen when you get the flu shot and still get sick.

This is because the virus in your body is different from the flu vaccine you received. But the flu shot will still give you some form of protection against getting very sick.

Where can I get the flu shot?

Most pharmacies will have the flu shot available from the end of March each year and you do not need a prescription.

The nurse at the pharmacy can administer the shot for you.

Who should get the flu shot?

Even if you are a healthy person and never get sick, it is still a good idea to get the flu shot. If you are someone who exercises a lot and lives a healthy lifestyle, then the flu can stop you from doing that.

High-risk people

If you are an elderly patient, have a suppressed or weak immune system and are pregnant, then doctors recommend you should definitely get the flu shot!

Remember that the flu can lead to serious infections such as pneumonia, which could land you in the hospital. So it’s a good idea to get protection.

But, what if the flu shot makes me sick?

The flu shot is made from a virus that is inactivated (it’s basically dead) and it cannot infect you with the flu.

If you get sick after getting the vaccine, then you were most likely going to get sick anyway.

It takes about a week to two weeks to be protected from the vaccine, so people often assume that they are sick because of the vaccine.

The flu shot can save you money

The cost of flu medications such as cough syrups and sinus tablets and sprays are pretty high! Not to mention the cost of a doctor consultation which is anywhere R350 or more.

If you don’t want to go private, you could spend all day waiting in lines to be seen to at a public hospital, which is just not worth it.

Bu getting the flu shot you are saving yourself time, money, strength and energy.

Of course, having health insurance will also save you a whole bunch in medical bills. Click here to find out more about this affordable alternative to medical aid.

What are the side effects of the flu shot?

Most people will not experience any side effects.

Some symptoms you might experience are a runny nose, headache, nausea and a slight fever, but these will pass in a few days and are nothing to worry about.

The area where the shot was given might also be a bit painful and swollen.

Is the flu shot worth it?


From saving money in medical bills, stopping yourself from getting sick and saving yourself from getting more serious conditions such as chest infections that stem from the flu - it is most certainly worth it!

How much does the flu shot cost?

At Clicks the flu shot costs R69.99.

At Dis-Chem the flu shot costs R87.


Yours in health,


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