Help us help you this winter by getting your flu vaccination – it’s free because you need it.
We’re half way through October, Halloween is just round the corner and the flu is lying in wait to strike you down. The flu doesn’t care if you have lots of work to do, it doesn’t care about your exiting plans with friends, it doesn’t care if you were looking forward to going trick or treating. It will get you just the same.
The best way to beat the flu is to not get it in the first place. The Flu vaccine is the single best way of preventing the flu. For certain people, the flu is not just inconvenient but can lead to more serious medical conditions. That’s why people that have a long term health condition, aged over 65, pregnant or children aged between 2 and 11 can get the flu vaccine for free.
Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have an underlying health condition such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease or a chronic neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Flu on top of health conditions like these increases your chance of serious health complications and a hospital visit.
Adults aged 65 years and over
The flu vaccination continues to be available to adults aged 65 years old and over, who are more vulnerable and may suffer more than most people if they catch flu. This season there are two vaccines available for those aged 65 years and over.
Flu can be nasty for little children. Children also tend to be super-spreaders of flu, so if they get it they are likely to infect other vulnerable or older family members. Children who get flu have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment. The flu vaccine will help protect your child from flu and reduce the chance of it spreading on to others.
For most children, the flu vaccine is not usually an injection, just a quick and easy nasal spray. Children aged 2 and 3 (on 31 August 2019) receive the vaccine through their GP and all primary school aged children receive it in school. If you have a child who is of the eligible age, make sure you sign the consent form allowing them to have the flu vaccine at school.
Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result flu can cause serious complications for women and their babies. One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia. If women have flu while they're pregnant, it could mean their baby is born prematurely or has a low birthweight which could even lead to stillbirth or death. Pregnant women may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming ill from flu. The flu jab is the safest way to help protect pregnant women and their babies against flu, no matter how many months pregnant or how fit and healthy the woman may feel.
If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now. Contact your general practice, pharmacist or midwife to get it. Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information.