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Flu season hits Switzerland: Should you get immunised?

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Flu season hits Switzerland: Should you get immunised?
PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP
12:05 CET+01:00
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Swiss residents fall ill with the flu and many develop serious complications. How can you protect yourself?

When exactly is the “flu season”?

Typically, it starts about December, peaks in February and starts abating in March.

Is the flu very contagious?

Since it is a viral infection, it spreads very quickly. Last year alone, about 210,000 flu-related doctor visits were registered in Switzerland. Several hundred people die from the complications related to this illness each year.

What does the Swiss medical community say about the flu vaccine?

The Federal Office of Public Health recommends flu (influenza) vaccines for people who are at increased risk of complications from this illness. Medical and nursing staff, as well as people working in day-care centres and in nursing homes, are also urged to get immunised.

Isn’t flu harmless?

Young, healthy people usually weather the flu without serious consequences. However, there is a risk that they spread the virus to those around them.

Who has the highest risk of developing flu-related complications?

Generally speaking, those with undeveloped or weakened immune system, for example children under five, people over 65 years of age, and cancer patients. Also, those with chronic illnesses, including respiratory or heart disease, are more prone to developing complications such as pneumonia.

Are there risks associated with the flu vaccine?

Some people have known allergies to the vaccine’s ingredients, or might develop flu-like symptoms as a reaction to the shot. But most side effects are mild and temporary, such as redness or swelling at the site of the injection.

Does the vaccine provide total protection against influenza?  

Research shows that immunisation reduces the risk of flu by between 40 and 60 percent, also lowering the risk of complications. In other studies, the vaccine has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of this illness.

Where can I get immunised in Switzerland?

Your doctor’s office is the best source of information. There are also pharmacies throughout the country that offer the flu jab.  

 

 

 

 

 

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