Winter can be seriously bad for our health and a challenging time for the NHS, particularly urgent and emergency care services.
A joint national initiative from NHS England and Public Health England called Stay Well This Winter is now underway.
Basildon and Brentwood CCG is supporting the Stay Well this Winter campaign to help those people in our local communities who are most vulnerable to falling seriously ill with winter ailments.
We don't want to prevent those who need urgent care from going to hospital but we hope that by providing simple advice for people considered most at risk during the winter months, our residents can avoid the need for hospital treatment.
The campaign will offer advice and information about the precautions people can take against winter.
One of the best protections for people who are at increased risk of flu this coming winter is to make sure they have their free flu vaccination, the sooner the better as the weather chills down.
People who are recommended to have the flu vaccine are:
- everyone aged 65 and over
- all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
- all two, three and four-year-old children
- all children in school years 1,2 and 3
- everyone living in a residential or nursing home
- everyone who cares for an older or disabled person
- household contacts or anyone who is immunosuppressed
- all frontline health and social care workers
Flu can affect anyone but for anyone with a long term health condition the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed. You should have the free flu vaccine if you have any of the following medical conditions (this includes children and babies over six months of age):
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or breathing difficulties including emphysema or severe asthma
- a kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
- liver disease
- had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- a neurological condition eg multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy or a learning disability
- a problem with your spleen eg sickle cell disease or you have your spleen removed
- are seriously overweight
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children. This year all two, three and four-year-olds and children in school years 1,2 and 3 are being offered the free flu vaccination. As well as protecting children, the infection is then less able to spread to other family members and friends including their parents and grant parents. For most children the vaccine is given as a nasal spray so it is painless and easy to have.
Please ask at your GP practice or local pharmacy about having your flu vaccination.
You can download the following information leaflets here (click on the leaflet you would like to download):