Influenza is a viral infection that is highly contagious and mainly affects the upper respiratory organs.
It is estimated by the World Health Organization that influenza (flu) kills half a million people globally every year. The worst flu pandemic in 1918 killed 50 million people worldwide.
The flu virus is easily transmitted from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or spits, and droplets produced by them land on the eyes, nose or mouth of the person nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their faces. Influenza is at its most contagious during yearly seasonal epidemics.
People who have the flu usually recover after a few days, but for certain high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, and people over the age of 65, complications can occur, and may even cause death.
Often mistaken for the common cold in the initial infection stage, as they share many similar symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat.
However, unlike the cold where symptoms tend to progress gradually, symptoms of the flu come suddenly. You may experience:
Some may experience more severe symptoms such as:
Seek medical help immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.
For most patients, medical intervention is usually not required, and your general practitioner may advise you to:
Your doctor may give you some anti-viral medication if you belong to one of the following high-risk groups:
Patients in the above groups have a higher chance of developing complications arising from the flu.
Unless advised otherwise by your doctor, it is recommended that you go for flu vaccination even if you are healthy, especially if you live with or take care of people belonging to high-risk groups.
In Singapore, MOH has informed medical practitioners to advise their patients on the importance of influenza vaccination for the following groups of people:
Flu vaccines are developed annually, and according to this CDC Effectiveness Report, the 2019-2020 flu vaccine reduces your chance of being infected by 50%.
Having the flu vaccination helps to rule out the differential flu diagnosis for the symptoms despite similar symptoms with COVID-19 and hence reduces the burden on testing as well as the health system.
Please contact your medical doctor to find out more about how this information affects you or your loved ones, and everyone has a different medical history, so effectiveness may vary.
Millions of pregnant women have been administered flu shots over the years with a good safety record.
For pregnant women who would like more information, here are some studies that have been conducted on flu vaccine safety during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are more likely to be susceptible to severe illness caused by the flu than non-pregnant women of reproductive age.
Pregnant women experience changes in their immune system, heart, and lungs that make them more prone to developing severe illnesses from the flu, resulting in hospitalization.
This 2018 study showed that pregnant women’s risks of getting hospitalized with the flu were reduced by almost 40%.
As antibodies are passed onto the developing baby by the mother during pregnancy, the flu shot can also protect your baby for the first few months after they’re born, when they’re too young to get vaccinated.
You can get the quadrivalent (4-in-1) flu shot at any of our clinics at Fusion Medical for $37.45 Nett. Please contact us to book an appointment.
Yes, Medisave can be used for flu shots for the following groups of people:
Fusion Medical is a Medisave accredited clinic, call us to find out more about the flu shot.
In Singapore, the flu season is generally during the cooler months with rain, such as May – July, and December – February.
It is generally advisable to get your flu shot before the flu season starts.
The flu vaccination is available at any of our Fusion Medical clinics located at Wheelock and Nexus. Please contact us to find out more information.
Dr Wenus Ho is a family physician and a designated workplace doctor with more than a decade of clinical experience. She is also currently a postgraduate tutor for the Graduate Diploma of Family Medicine (GDFM) Training Program in the Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore....
Dr Amy graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2008 and has undergone various postings in emergency departments, inpatient wards and polyclinics. She found her calling in Family Medicine and went on to attain...
After graduating from Guys’, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine in the United Kingdom, Dr Juliana went on to complete her Graduate Diploma in Family medicine at the National University of Singapore. She is currently pursuing her diploma in Occupational Medicine. Dr Juliana applies her...
Dr Yong graduated from University College London, United Kingdom, with a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery with distinction in medical sciences. She has more than 10 years of experience as a general practitioner, and was accredited as family physician by the Family Physician Accreditation...