Health organisations across Shropshire are reminding those eligible for a free flu vaccination to take up their flu jab over the next few weeks.
The call out is part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, to help the public ward off common winter illnesses and prevent from being admitted into hospital. Those eligible for a free flu vaccine include:
- Older people aged 65 and over
- Children aged 2 and 3 year olds
- Children in reception class and school years 1 to 4 (ie born between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2013)
- People with long term conditions
- Pregnant women.
Dr Irfan Ghani, Shropshire Council’s public health consultant, said:
“Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications, particularly for those who are older or those who have a long-term health condition like COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes; heart, kidney or liver disease or have suffered a stroke. Flu on top of health conditions like these can easily develop into something very serious and could land you in hospital.
“Please help yourself stay well and take up your free flu vaccine through your GP or pharmacist. It’s free because you need it.”
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, adult social care and housing, and chair of Shropshire’s Health and Well-Being Board, added:
“It is vital that those eligible have it every year, as the vaccine protects against different strains of flu which can change and/or evolve each year. The free flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu: these include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with long term health conditions. I would sincerely urge everyone who is eligible to get their flu jab now.
Flu can also be horrible for little children, and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family. Children who get the flu have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment. The flu vaccine can help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others.”
If you have a child aged 2 or 3, get them vaccinated against flu with the free nasal spray flu vaccine from your GP. Schoolchildren from reception class through to year 4 will get their vaccinations through their school.
Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby, pregnant women who get the flu may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming ill. The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu and you can have it at any stage of pregnancy, however fit and healthy you might feel.
If you are eligible for the flu vaccine get it now – it’s free because you need it. Contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife to the get the flu jab.
For more information on how to stay well this winter, visit https://www.nhs.uk/staywell/.