The onset of the winter months are always challenging for the NHS, especially for urgent care services which tend to see a sharp increase in A&E attendances. This is often because of flu and other cold weather conditions but also because of preventable things like people running out of medications or opting to go straight to hospital instead of a GP, pharmacist or calling NHS 111.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign aims to ease this seasonal pressure by outlining simple choices people can make to keep themselves well during the colder months. This includes having a flu vaccination, if you are eligible.
Vaccination is free to those aged two – eight years, over 65s, anyone aged six months – 65 years in clinical ‘at risk’ groups (including people with asthma and respiratory conditions and those with heart and kidney problems), pregnant women, those in long-stay residential care homes and carers.
Choosing to get vaccinated not only helps you stay well, but those around you. Flu is highly infectious and can be especially nasty in small children and the elderly, leading to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This year we are expecting a particularly bad strain of the virus to hit the UK, following reports of one of the worst outbreaks in Australia in recent times.
So make an appointment with your GP or visit your local pharmacist before flu sets in, and don’t assume that if you were vaccinated last year you are safe – the vaccination needs updating every year to be fully effective.
- Young children are not vaccinated by injection. They receive a quick, painless nasal spray which takes seconds to administer
- Flu in children can lead to high fever or complications and may require hospital treatment
- Babies can’t be vaccinated but if the mother is vaccinated when pregnant, immunity is passed to her child during its first few months
- Flu can hit older and disabled people and their carers hard. Having the vaccine is the best way to protect carers and the person they care for from flu.
- Contrary to popular belief, the flu vaccination does not give you flu!
To find out more visit www.nhs.uk/flujab or speak to your GP surgery or local pharmacist and stay well this winter!
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