Flu epidemic in France: Do I need to get a vaccination?

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]
Flu epidemic in France: Do I need to get a vaccination?
Nurses in Dijon administer a shot. Photo: AFP

France is in the grip of a deadly flew epidemic. Here's what you need to know about vaccinations.


The flu outbreak in France right now has seen nearly 800,000 people consulting their GPs, and 142 of the country's 840 hospitals are at "stress level". 
So is it too late to get a vaccination?
Well, it depends on your age and level of health, say doctors. A vaccination "can still be useful" for the elderly and the frail health consultant Alain Ducardonnet told the BFM TV channel.
He added that the elderly, the frail, or those suffering from chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes can still benefit from the shot. 
Indeed, the government urged the elderly and those with heart or lung problems to get a flu jab following the death of 13 residents at a nursing home in Lyon last week. It has since launched an investigation into their deaths. 
For the rest of us, however, it's essentially too late to get the vaccination, as it takes two to three weeks before it takes effect and the worst will be over by then. 
The peak of the virus is expected some time next week, after which point the flu will (hopefully) shrivel up and disappear until next January. 
Ducardonnet added that those who got vaccinated in October and November were well protected this time around, considering the vaccine worked against the H3N2 strain that happened to be spreading around this time. 
The best way to avoid catching the flu yourself (and indeed, to avoid passing it on if you already have it), is to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, to wash your hands regularly, to avoid going out if possible, and to throw used tissues in a closed bin. 


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