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Influenza strikes New Zealand every year, mostly in the winter months. It's a disease that can kill but fortunately rarely does. What's more common is that it can make you feel very unwell for several weeks.

Posted on 27 May 2019 |

There are a number of myths surrounding influenza and it's important to understand the truth behind those myths.

Influenza myths: #1 - It's just like a bad cold

Wrong. Influenza is different from a cold virus. A cold virus only affects the nose, throat and the upper chest and lasts for a few days, whereas influenza can be a serious illness that affects the whole body and can last up to a week or more.

Influenza myths: #2 – The flu jab will mean I won't get it

Wrong. The vaccine can take up to two weeks to have an effect. The vaccine now contains four strains of influenza virus but the virus can mutate during the season. You may still get the flu but your symptoms will be much reduced.

Influenza myths: #3 – The vaccine can give you the flu

Wrong. You cannot get influenza from the vaccine, as it does not contain any live viruses. Some people may experience mild reactions such as muscle aches or headaches for a short time after immunisation, and they may think this is the flu – but it’s not.

Influenza myths: #4 – I'm fit and healthy so I don't need the jab

Wrong. Healthy adults, children and infants can still become seriously ill and even die. Also, healthy people can spread influenza to others around them. Although people with underlying medical conditions, like asthma or diabetes, are most at risk from flu-associated complications, previously fit and healthy people have ended up in hospital or died from this serious illness.

We offer influenza vaccinations for our enrolled population and to casual patients.