All about the seasonal flu vaccine

Temperatures have started to drop and evenings are turning milder. Winter is beginning to show its face, no doubt about it! With it comes the onset of seasonal flu, which can be prepared for with the vaccines offered by the Clinic. Who are they for? When to get vaccinated? Dr Veeraragoo, a specialist in internal medicine, gives us more information.


What is seasonal flu?

The seasonal influenza virus belongs to the Orthomyxoviridae family. These viruses occur every year, mainly in winter, and affect all populations worldwide. They are unique in that they mutate continuously, which means that they are constantly changing and are never the same every year. While the symptoms may vary from person to person, some are quite common and are found in most infected people, such as headache, fever, runny nose, myalgia, weakness, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. Flu is mostly harmless, but can lead to serious consequences, including hospitalisation or even death, in at-risk populations.


Who is eligible for the vaccine?

The vaccine is not compulsory but is strongly recommended, especially for particular risk profiles. One of the target groups are elderly people as they are more likely to develop serious complications after being infected. Secondly, we also advise children between 6 months and 2 years of age to be vaccinated. As their immune systems are still immature, they tend to develop more intense forms of flu. Thirdly, people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma or certain heart diseases are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine. Finally, pregnant women may also be at risk, as influenza can lead to complications such as miscarriage and premature delivery.


When is the best time for a vaccination?

As seasonal flu tends to occur in winter, it is advisable to get the vaccine before the weather turns cold. The ideal time would therefore be between February and March, but the vaccine will still be effective regardless of when it is given, as it protects the patient for 6 to 8 months. It should then be repeated every year at the same period.


How does it work?

The two vaccines offered at the Clinic, Influvac and Vaxigrip, are composed of inactivated viruses. This means that once injected, the virus cannot multiply in the body’s cells and cause flu. In other words, it wakes up the immune system and builds a response to future attacks. If the immune defence is actually activated, the person is fully ready to neutralise the real virus before it can do too much damage. As these viruses change every year, vaccines are continually updated according to the strains in circulation. The Vaxigrip vaccine, for example, is a tetravalent vaccine and prepares the immune system against four different subtypes of influenza A and B currently in circulation.


Does the vaccine cause side effects?

The flu vaccine has been used for almost 60 years! It has been extensively studied and is therefore safe. However, it is possible to experience flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, runny nose, fever or loss of appetite within 48 hours of the injection. However, these symptoms are less severe. In very rare cases, a person may be unknowingly allergic to one of the components of the vaccine. This can lead to an allergic reaction of varying severity.


How effective is the flu vaccine?

The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on many factors: the health of the person, their age, but also the type of virus currently in circulation. As a general rule, the vaccine is 40-60% effective. This means that you can still get the flu, but your system’s immune response will be much faster because the body recognises the virus straight away. The virus, since it is already known to our immune system, will not proliferate, thus hindering contamination, which is usually through the airways. In addition, the vaccine remains effective against the strains that make it up. It is therefore possible for a person to be infected with a subtype not provided by the vaccine.


What are the necessary formalities for obtaining a vaccine?

At the Clinic, you will need a prescription from a general practitioner or other doctor before you can be vaccinated. The pharmacy will then deliver the prescribed vaccine to the patient. Medical advice is also required before the injection, as it is not recommended to be vaccinated if you have a fever, for example.


Besides vaccination, what are your recommendations for coping with winter and seasonal flu?

In order to limit the risk of contamination, especially for symptomatic cases, we would advise implementing the same precautions recommended since the advent of the pandemic: wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, social distancing, use of hydroalcoholic gel, etc. Furthermore, a healthy diet, made up of fresh fruits and vegetables and balanced meals, also ensures optimal immunity. It is equally advisable to exercise, as it oxygenates our system and boosts our immunity and mental health. Finally, if we suffer from comorbidities, we should do all the necessary check-ups. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels in a diabetic suffering from flu can lead to serious complications. It is therefore wise to listen to your body and, above all, to take care of it.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact our pharmacy on 401 95 00.


Related Article

According to the French National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the most common type affecting men. What are the signs that need to be taken into account? Here’s what you need to know. Although the risk of getting prostate cancer before the age of
Your doctor says that you should undergo a cataract surgery… What should you expect in the days following the operation? What precautions should be taken? Dr. Li Yim, an ophthalmologist at the Clinique Bon Pasteur, has accepted to answer all our questions.
While it should only cause a temporary discomfort, gastroenteritis—an infection of the digestive tract—can sometimes have harmful consequences in infants and young children. Vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fever, loss of appetite… How to prevent
Did you know that it was a woman who invented the first real computer program in 1843? In a field which has essentially been dominated by men, many women have nevertheless brought much progress! Now in 2023, women inclusion in the digital world is put
Orthopedic surgery Specialising in the surgical treatment and correction of various deformities and injuries, orthopedic surgery definitely covers a large spectrum. Yet, some of the more common conditions are a daily reality for most self-respecting
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease, often associated with ageing. It is thought to be caused by the ageing of the joints, but can affect individuals of any age, and more particularly athletes and people suffering from obesity. On this World
Physical pain, dizziness, lung problems, psychiatric disorders, osteoarthritis… Is there anything that physiotherapy does not treat? With the aim of improving the patient’s physical condition, physiotherapy uses various means to design the best
As your pregnancy is coming to full term, you realise that Mother Nature is being temperamental: your delivery will thus have to be scheduled. What are the reasons behind such a decision? How to get prepared? Here is the answer in three parts. What are the
Here it is: you are expecting your first child and asking yourself a lot of questions… What is exactly the role of a paediatrician? Why is it important to have one? When to look for one? Dr. Alleesaib, paediatrician at the Clinique Bon Pasteur, is answering
While the benefits of breastfeeding have been long proven, many mothers become quickly discouraged. Lack of time, stressful sessions, lack of psychological support, incorrect information… And yet, breastfeeding is all good! We discussed the matter with Dr.
Launched in the United States, where the consumption of ultra-processed foods is one of the worst habits, National Junk Food Day is an annual reminder of the dangers of unhealthy food. Indeed, it is thought to be responsible for one in five deaths, even more
Thanks to phenomenal medical and technological progress, people tend to live longer every year. However, with a growing ageing population, the WHO reports that by 2021, 1 in 6 elderly people are likely to have been subjected to abuse. On this World Elder
When we talk about a clinic’s efficiency, we immediately associate it with the care organization and teams. However, many of our behind-the-scenes colleagues are vital to making the Clinic efficient and productive. Among them are the system
Even today, vitiligo is a condition that is still causing researchers much concern! Affecting about 1% of the population, it is expressed by a gradual depigmentation of the skin that irregularly affects certain parts of the body, particularly the face,
July 15th marks World Youth Skills Day and celebrates the importance of teaching young people all the relevant skills needed to achieve success in employment, getting a decent job and becoming an entrepreneur. The Clinique Bon Pasteur has been participating
We often hear about the importance of having a health check-up. As a preventative health care measure, it helps to identify potential pathologies before they appear or become serious. Who should have a check-up? How does it work? Interview with Dr Panchcoory,
Each year on May 25th, the thyroid gland is given special attention. And for good reason! Despite its small size, this gland controls many of our body’s essential functions. And since thyroid disorders are among the most common endocrine problems,
While the baby blues, which is often associated with postpartum hormonal shifts, is rather common after birth, postpartum depression affects up to 20% of new mothers, the WHO reports. How to explain such phenomenon? What are the signs to watch for? How to
Radiology and pulmonology : what pulmonary imaging can reveal about your lungs Everyday your lungs are doing an extraordinary job: bringing oxygen into the blood and driving out the carbon dioxide produced by the cells. They may be nevertheless affected by
Since the Clinique Bon Pasteur is committed to the safety and health of its employees and collaborators as well as its patients and visitors, works have been initiated this year to provide an optimal environment to all. Anju Teeluck, Health & Safety