A cold virus only affects the nose, throat and the upper chest and lasts for a few days. Influenza is a serious illness that affects the whole body and can last up to a week or more.
Flu shots are available for anyone for a fee from a doctor, nurse or some pharmacists or you may qualify to get it for free. Check in with your GP team or if you’re not enrolled with a GP, check out the list of pharmacies providing it in Canterbury.
Flu immunisation is free for Canterbury residents from your doctor, nurse or qualified vaccinating pharmacist from April till the end of December, if you’re in one of these groups:
• Anyone aged 65 years or over
• Pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy)
Flu immunisation is free for Canterbury residents from a doctor or nurse only if you’re in one of these groups:
• People under 65 years of age (including children) with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma that requires regular preventive therapy), kidney disease and most cancers
• Children aged four and under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness.
• Young people from six months to 17 years old (under 18) years of age living in the Kaikoura and Hurunui areas (within the Canterbury District Health Board).
Anyone from six months old can be given an influenza vaccine.
• Call your GP for advice rather than visit if you think you may have the ﬂu and stay away from the hospital unless it’s an emergency
• Stay away from work or school if you’re sick
• Cover coughs and sneezes – use a tissue or sneeze or cough into your inner elbow if you’re caught short
• Clean your hands often
The Ministry of Health website has more details on caring for yourself and others (including babies and children) if you are infected.
Download the Coping with Flu at Home brochure for more detailed tips.