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First of 3 articles with info on the "flu" and how to prevent it this flu season

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Get the flu vaccine...not the flu! Part 1

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacies, Pearse St and Clonmore, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to


Influenza (flu) is a highly infectious acute respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can affect people of any age. The seasonal flu vaccine for 2021/22 protects against 4 strains of flu virus. These are the strains most likely to be circulating this flu season. You can get the flu vaccination your GP surgery or local pharmacy. The flu vaccine is free if you have medical card or doctor visit card. It is also free if you are over 65, for children under 12, people with long-term illness, pregnant women, and health care workers. It is also free for carers once you can prove you are in receipt of carer’s allowance. The Flu Vaccine programme will start by the end of September. You can get your flu vaccine at Whelehans Pearse St and Whelehans Clonmore. It only takes a few minutes. For convenience you can book your flu vaccination online on the Whelehans Pharmacy website.


Symptoms of Flu

Symptoms of flu include sudden fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, non-productive dry cough, exhaustion, and weakness. Flu characteristically causes a temperature of 38 to 40° C that lasts 3-4 days.


Difference between cold and flu?

A cold will develop slowly over a few days with symptoms like a sore throat and a blocked or runny nose. The symptom of flu hits you suddenly and severely with symptoms like fever and muscle aches. Flu hits you like a brick. Often people suffering from a bad cold wrongly believe they have flu. Flu causes extreme exhaustion, muscle aches, severe sweats and leaves you so weak you will not be able to get out of bed. Work and other normal routines are not possible with flu.


Complications of flu

Most people recover from flu in 2-7 days, but in some it can last for up to two or three weeks. Flu can be severe and can cause serious illness and death, especially in the very young and in the elderly. Serious respiratory complications can develop, including pneumonia and bronchitis. Older people and those with certain chronic medical conditions are at particular risk of these complications. Pregnant women and women up to six weeks after giving birth have also been found to be at increased risk of the complications of flu. 80 to 90% of reported deaths from influenza occur in the elderly, mainly from bacterial pneumonia (200 deaths per year in Ireland), but also from the underlying disease.


Flu vaccine side effects

You may have a mild fever and aching muscles for a couple of days after having the vaccine. Your arm may also be a bit sore where you got the injection. Serious side effects of the flu vaccine are very rare. There is no aluminium, thiomersal, mercury, gelatin or porcine gelatin in the Influenza vaccine used in the 2021/2022 campaign. 

Convenient Vaccination Service at Whelehans Pharmacies

The only way to get protected from flu is by getting vaccinated. Whelehans offer flu vaccine at our Pearse St and Clonmore store most days from 8:30am daily for adults and children; For convenience you can book online on the Whelehans Pharmacy website or ring us at 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). It only takes a few minutes to get vaccinated. Cost €20 or free with medical or doctor visit card. It is free for over 65s, children and people with long term medical conditions, healthcare workers and long-term carers.


To be continued… next week


Check for more vaccine information. For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).

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