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Should I get the flu shot?

Those people in ‘at risk’ groups for influenza should get a flu vaccine, advises South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). Says the NICD, at risk groups are the elderly, pregnant women, diabetics and those with compromised immune systems.

What is a flu shot? The flu vaccine is a jab containing three inactivated (killed) strains of the flu virus – currently, the vaccine comprises Influenza A (H3N2); Influenza A (H1N1); and a B Virus. The vaccine changes each year, as new strains emerge. According the NICS, the predominant flu strain in South Africa this year is Influenza A (H1N1). The flu vaccine is available from doctors, pharmacies and clinics nationwide.

Side effects of the flu vaccine may include inflammation and soreness where the shot was administered or mild fever and aches lasting a couple of days. Allergic reactions are rare – consult a health care professional if you’re in any doubt.