Cliche: Health is Wealth
The most unfortunate thing that could happen to a person while he/she's working abroad is to get sick and needs to be confined in a hospital. Many of us here in Israel suffered and are suffering from different kind of diseases which deeply affects our job as well as our whole being. To have a flu is one thing and to have a terminal diseases is another thing. But either, even a simple flu can trigger a much higher complication if not treated well.
Good thing about working in Israel is the right to have a medical insurance which does not only give a free medical consultations but also cover hospital expenses as well as medications. But this doesn't mean that we could only use this when we are ill. We can use this privilege to actually prevent any growing diseases inside our body. We have to go for a regular check up even if we don't feel anything bad. As they say, prevention is better than cure especially now that most diseases are asymptomatic. Meaning, you won't feel anything unusual going on with your body until it will be too late for you to go to the doctor.
Now it's October and cold season is coming. This is a time for us to be very careful. The sudden drop of the temperature can trigger influenza because of the viruses that circulating during the cold season. One thing to prevent this is to have a flu vaccine. People are curious about the said vaccine. Most of them are afraid to actually get the shot because it can give you flu-like side effects which is actually normal. What's inside the vial are weakened flu viruses which will act as antibodies to protect you from getting the actual disease.
Influenza or Flu is a respiratory disease that may cause serious complications if not treated well. There are deadly flu like H1N1 virus that killed hundreds of people. One way to battle these flu viruses is to have antibodies and strong immune system that will help you fight against it. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone from 6 months of age and older must have an annual flu vaccination.
Why does it has to be every year? First of all, the viruses evolve so rapidly that your vaccination last year would not work this year. Also, your antibodies are declining overtime that's why you need another shot to keep up with quick adapting flu viruses.
Everyone who are 6 months and older should get the vaccine especially pregnant women, young children and older adults or elderly. These people are prone to flu complications as well as people with chronic and terminal diseases like Cancer patients or undergoing cancer treatment, people with asthma, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, HIV/AIDS, liver or kidney diseases and even people who are obese.
People who are allergic to eggs are prohibited to make the flu shot since some of the vaccine contains egg proteins. But you'll be able to make the vaccine after undergoing certain tests before actually getting one. People with severe reactions to previous vaccines are also advised to take precautionary measures before making the vaccine. Don't forget to inform the doctor or nurse if you are suffering or suffered from the aforementioned conditions before taking the shot.
Now people were asking if they can actually give them flu. The answer is NO. The vaccine can't give you an actual flu but can give you flu-like symptoms for some reasons. One reason is your body's reaction to the vaccine. You might experience some muscle pain and fever for 1 to 2 days. This is due to your body's production of protective antibodies. Another reason is mismatched flu viruses. There's a slight chance that the vaccine which was used this year does not match the circulating viruses during the flu season. Third, the vaccine will take effect and give a full-proof protection only after two weeks after taking the shot. It's possible that you'll catch a common cold or virus before your vaccine take effect.
You only have to remember that flu vaccines are not 100% effective. A flu shot is only 60-70% effective in warding off certain flu viruses. There are certain viruses in the environment that cannot be strained by your current vaccine. However, awareness and certain change of lifestyle can greatly help you to protect yourself from viruses. Number one is good hygiene. Wash your hands as frequent as possible with soap and water. Always have in your bag a bottle of sanitary-based alcohol whenever soap and water is not accessible. Avoid too crowded places and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as much as possible. To avoid spreading of diseases, you have to cover your mouth when you cough, avoid shake hands and avoid kissing and hugging if you are suffering from flu or common cold.
There's no harm in preventing a potential illness. In fact, the harm will come if you will not do anything to protect yourself. Flu vaccine is currently ongoing in every Kophat Kolim all over Israel. It's totally free and all you need is your health insurance card and yourself. You don't need your doctor's referral unless you are suffering from a serious disease. Aside from this, you can also ask your doctor to give you a referral for complete blood count and urinalysis to know exactly what's going on inside your body. With this knowledge, you can adjust or totally change your lifestyle to become healthy and disease-free.