Sunday, 4 November 2012

Don't forget your winter flu jab

Now that Halloween is behind us and Guy Fawkes Night is almost over for another year, my thoughts are turning to winter.  The winter coats, gloves, scarves etc. are now hanging up and ready to be used, to keep us warm as the temperature drops.

As we all begin to prepare for the onset of winter, the Government is launching a new advertising campaign to encourage everyone who's eligible for a free flu jab to go and claim it.  The Department of Health says it's because the numbers of people who are getting their dose of the flu vaccine are down on this time last year.  It might be because the weather was still relatively mild at this point last year, or it might be because it can be easy to forget to make the appointment.  But, whatever the reason, if you're eligible for the free flu jab - please go and claim it!

Flu fighter gets the flu jab
Image credit: NHSE | Flickr

Figures suggest that around 4,700 people die every year after getting flu and those who are deemed to be ‘at-risk’ are eleven times more likely to die from the illness.  That's right, eleven times more likely to die.  I'm fortunate that my family are all, for the most part, relatively healthy but I'm aware that my grandparents are in their eighties and will most certainly benefit from the protection that having the flu jab brings.  What I don't want is for them, or any other member of my family, to become part of that statistic so I'll very definitely be urging them to make an appointment and get down to their local GP surgery to get the vaccine.

If you're not sure if you're eligible to receive the flu jab for free on the NHS, you can get it if you:
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a long-term condition including diabetes, asthma, liver disease, kidney disease or heart or chest problems
  • Are undergoing medical treatment and may have a compromised immune system
  • Have a neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
  • Are a frontline health or social care worker
  • Live in a residential or nursing home
  • Are a main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if they fall ill
  • Are aged 65 or over

These have been deemed to be vulnerable groups because the people who fall into these categories are more likely to develop complications as a result of flu, such as lung infections and these conditions can lead to the need for hospital treatment.

It's also been recommended that all children aged between two and 17 should be offered the flu vaccine, although this may not be happening everywhere until 2014.  Some surgeries might be offering this now though so it's worth checking out.  Of course, if you're worried about you or your children catching flu and aren't in one of those 'at-risk' groups mentioned above, you can still get the vaccine but will have to pay for the pleasure.

So please remember - if you're eligible don't delay, go and get your free flu jab today!  And, for more information on flu and the flu vaccine, head over to the NHS Choices website.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know if you get the jab if you get a dose of the flu after ? Just need to understand as i have a few busy weekends after and dont want to be laid up. Thanks for the reminder


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