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Why you can’t afford to get the flu!

The simple act of getting vaccinated for the flu could save you precious time and money.  In fact, vaccination against the flu is a very small price to pay compared to what it could cost you and your family if you fall ill this winter.

There are many costs to consider when a family member falls ill, and these can stretch far beyond a dollar amount; time off work to recuperate, time away from work to care for family members, wasted childcare fees because your sick child can’t attend, and the cost of medication. These costs all add up to make a very expensive flu season, both for your wallet and your stress levels.

The flu shot is funded by the government for some people. You can find out who is eligible here. Alternatively you can get a flu vaccination from your healthcare professional for a small cost.

It pays to be prepared and to protect yourself and your family from the flu.

Be prepared.

Experts are warning the 2015 flu season in Australia may be severe, based on the significant impact of influenza in the northern hemisphere in 2014-2015. Sadly, there was a total of 125 influenza-associated deaths in children in the United States alone.1

Sydney based General Practitioner, Dr Ginni Mansberg, suggests all Australians get the flu vaccination to avoid hospitalisation and serious complications from influenza.  Especially those in the high risk groups like those over 65 years, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases like asthma or diabetes.

“Flu can be incredibly unpleasant, disruptive to the work and home life of individuals.  Generally, there is a greater chance for ‘at-risk’ groups but healthy people can also develop complications of flu, making vaccination important for all,” she said.

A study of influenza-related behaviours and attitudes in Australia, conducted by Maidstone Consulting, for Sanofi Pasteur, revealed the majority (84 per cent) of unvaccinated working Australians who got the flu last season agreed the 2014 flu season had a negative impact on them or their family.2

Almost one in three (30%) who were unvaccinated and caught the flu or had flu-like symptoms, experienced an average total period of sickness of 9.6 days. For workers, an average of four days were taken off sick due to flu.3 That’s almost a full week off work!

The flu also significantly impacted non-vaccinated parents with children. 16 per cent of these parents stated that their child had missed at least one day of school in 2014 due to the flu, and eight per cent bore costs for unused childcare.4 5

Sharing isn’t always caring. Influenza is highly contagious.

We often think we are the only ones who will suffer if we get the flu. However, the influenza virus is highly contagious, which means it is very easy to pass it on to family members and colleagues.  Research revealed 50 per cent of non-vaccinated parents who suffered with the flu in 2014 believed they caught it from a family member, and 26 per cent had given the flu to a family member.6

“Many people don’t realise you aren’t just protecting yourself when you get vaccinated, but others in your family, your friends, and the wider community,” explains Dr Mansberg.

The research revealed only 40 per cent of the Australian adult population received the flu shot in 2014.7

“Vaccination is our best protection against the flu,” says Dr Mansberg.  “Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional about flu vaccination options for you and your family this winter.”

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) Seasonal Influenza Immunisation Program for 2015 will commence on 20 April 2015.

References:


1.Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/#S3

2.Maidstone Consulting, Protecting against influenza in Australia 2015, A Study of Influenza-Related Behaviours and Attitudes in Australia, February 2015, p.101

3.Maidstone Consulting, Protecting against influenza in Australia 2015, A Study of Influenza-Related Behaviours and Attitudes in Australia, February 2015, p.92

4.Maidstone Consulting, Protecting against influenza in Australia 2015, A Study of Influenza-Related Behaviours and Attitudes in Australia, February 2015, p.103

5.Maidstone Consulting, Protecting against influenza in Australia 2015, A Study of Influenza-Related Behaviours and Attitudes in Australia, February 2015, p.104

6.Maidstone Consulting, Protecting against influenza in Australia 2015, A Study of Influenza-Related Behaviours and Attitudes in Australia, February 2015, p.33

7.Maidstone Consulting, Protecting against influenza in Australia 2015, A Study of Influenza-Related Behaviours and Attitudes in Australia, February 2015, p.20