As the autumn sets in and winter approaches, it’s time for those at greatest risk from flu to protect themselves and their families, and get flu safe with a free flu jab.
Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some. Those at greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.
Local health leaders in south Essex are encouraging people at most risk to protect themselves by getting a free flu jab from their GP.
Dr Danny Showell, Public Health Consultant at NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Flu is not just a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people. If you’re pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes then you should also get a free flu jab from your GP and get flu safe. The flu jab is very safe, and it can’t give you flu.”
Local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging everyone in South Essex who knows anyone who may be at risk from flu to tell them how important it is that they get protected. People who are carers and frontline health and social care staff are also encouraged to get a free jab to protect themselves and those around them.
The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe. The jab doesn’t contain the ‘live’ virus so it cannot give you the flu.
From autumn this year, children age 2 and 3 are also being offered a free flu vaccination, using a nasal spray. The nasal spray vaccine has proved to be more effective in preventing flu in children than other flu vaccines.
Dr Showell continued: “Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the kids or go to work. In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital - it can even result in death.”
“If you’re in any of the ’at risk’ groups, the flu jab is completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes.”
Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu.