Flu season is approaching – get your flu jab now


The clocks have gone back which means winter is on its way. And with winter comes flu. On average, flu kills around 8,000 people a year in England. Getting a flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu.

You can have your flu jab at your GP surgery or local pharmacy and for those who are most at risk of suffering serious consequences if they catch the flu, the vaccination is free – it’s free because you need it.

Dr Andrew Girdher, a GP at Box Surgery who had the flu last year, is encouraging those who need the vaccination, to have it:
“For the first time last winter I felt what it was like to experience flu and having a flu jab is definitely on my list of ‘must dos’ at the moment.
“Flu certainly knocked me for six – I had to take five days off work, the first time in 25 years, and I missed the surgery Christmas party. I’m someone who is very fit and active but once I got sick, I was physically unable to get out of my house, even getting out of bed was a challenge.
“People owe it to themselves to get a flu jab before winter, to protect their own health but also to protect the health of their family, work colleagues and friends from the debilitating effects of the flu.
“I also urge all patient-facing workers in health and social care to ensure they get a flu vaccination to reduce the risk to themselves and their patients this winter.”

People who are eligible for a free flu vaccination include:

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Adults aged 18-64 with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease
    or those who have had a stroke
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2-3 years
  • Children in school years: reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Carers
  • Health and social care workers.

Get your flu vaccination from your GP practice, or pharmacy before the end of November 2018 to help protect you and those around you this winter.

Flu is a highly infectious illness characterised by a fever, chills, headache, aching muscles and joint paint and fatigue. For most healthy people, flu symptoms can make you feel exhausted and unwell so that you have to stay in bed and rest until you get better.

If you think you may have the flu, stay at home and rest until you feel better. Call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition or feel really unwell.

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday 4 December 2014

KEEP A&E AND 999 FOR MEDICAL EMERGENCIES, NHS REMINDS PATIENTS IN WILTSHIRE

GPs from NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) re urging people to make sure they choose the most appropriate care for their ailments this winter.

Forecast colder weather this week indicates that winter has arrived, bringing with it increased demand on NHS services particularly from elderly and vulnerable patients.

Dr Peter Jenkins, GP Medical Adviser for Wiltshire CCG, said: “Even without severe weather – such as snow or prolonged sub-zero temperatures – the arrival of winter invariably means the NHS as a whole faces considerable challenges in dealing with greater numbers of patients.

“The NHS nationally and locally plans thoroughly for that increased demand, but we also need help from people in finding the most appropriate way to treat their ailments.”

Colder weather and viruses lead to an increase in the number of people – particularly those with a respiratory condition – being admitted to hospital as an emergency.

The CCG has therefore produced the following list of top tips to help people plan and ensure they are able to receive the most appropriate and timely treatment during winter:

  • Ensure you have sufficient over-the-counter medicines to treat minor ailments such as coughs, colds, cuts and scratches. The NHS Choices website has further information about sensible items to keep in your medicine cabinet at home.
  • If you feel unwell, particularly if you are elderly, seeking early advice from your GP or pharmacist could prevent a minor ailment becoming more serious. The NHS Feeling Under the Weather? campaign is aimed at people over 60 – or anyone aged over 45 looking after elderly relatives or neighbours – encouraging them to get early health advice.
  • If you have an ongoing medical condition requiring repeat prescriptions, ensure you have sufficient supplies to avoid running out when you GP surgeries is closed or over the Christmas holiday period.
  • Your local pharmacist is a good source of information, advice and treatment for a wide range of minor ailments.
  • For urgent medical needs that are not emergencies, NHS 111 is a free national phone number able to provide advice at any time on where and how to receive the most appropriate treatment.
  • This year’s NHS Flu campaign is encouraging all those who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to take up the offer. It is targeted at those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and parents of children aged 2-4. Wiltshire CCG is supporting the campaign by providing background advice and guidance on who is eligible for a free flu jab and the important of getting one.
  • Keep a look-out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours to ensure they are staying safe and well.
  • If you have any symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea, stay away from hospitals – including visiting friends or relatives. Norovirus, often called the winter vomiting bug, is highly contagious and can spread quickly in hospitals.
  • Don’t go to a hospital A&E department or dial 999 for an ambulance unless it is for a serious or life-threatening emergency.

“Clearly there are times when attending A&E or dialling 999 is the right course of action. However, using these services for less serious conditions does not mean a patient will receive quicker treatment, and may result in a delay for someone else whose condition is serious or even life-threatening,” said Dr Jenkins.

“Taking a few easy and sensible precautions now, along with using the best way to receive treatment if needed, can help ensure the NHS continues to provide high-quality, appropriate care for everyone needing it this winter.”

 

Ends

 

If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine, don’t put it off, get it now

NHS Wiltshire CCG is supporting the NHS Flu campaign.

The campaign will run from 6 October across England, encouraging those who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to take up the offer.  It is targeted at those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and parents of children aged 2-4.

Adverts will appear on radio and in the press supported by digital search.

Those who catch the flu pass it on to an average of two people putting those most vulnerable at an increased risk including those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women.

Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very suddenly. Healthy individuals usually recover in two to seven days but for some, the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

Points to remember are:

  • Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination; if you’re eligible get it now. It’s free because you need it
  • If you have a long-term health condition, even one that is well managed, or you are pregnant, you are at greater risk of severe complications if you catch flu
  • The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children aged 2-4 to be protected from flu without the need for injections
  • The flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk of flu
  • It is vital that those who are eligible have the flu vaccine every year as the vaccine protects against different strains of flu which evolve each year
  • The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu
  • The flu vaccine reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk

If you have a long-term health condition:

  • If you have a long-term health condition, even one that is well managed, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge.  It’s free because you need it
  • Flu can make the effects of your existing condition worse and makes complications like pneumonia more likely

If you are pregnant:

  • If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge. It’s free because you need it
  • The flu vaccine reduces the risk of complications and potential harmful consequences for both you and your baby if you catch the flu e.g. premature birth
  • Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result you may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu
  • The flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, it does not carry any risks for you or your baby

Children:

  • If you have children aged two, three or four, don’t put off taking them for their free flu vaccination
  • The nasal spray vaccination is quick, effective and painless and available to children aged 2-4 years
  • It’s important to protect your little ones from flu and the vaccination is available free on the NHS
  • Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles
  • The flu vaccination will help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others

Watch the video here.