Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some. Those at greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.
From September those people at most risk will be encouraged to get flu safe with a free flu jab from their GP. The NHS in England is launching the new Flu Safe campaign to remind people that they should get a flu jab. Flu Safe is a national message to highlight the importance of getting the jab, and carries facts about flu to dispel common misconceptions.
Professor Sarah O'Brien, Interim Clinical Chief Executive at NHS St Helens CCG said: “Flu is not just a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people. If you’re pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes then you should also get a free flu jab from your GP and get flu safe. The flu jab is completely safe, and it can’t give you flu.”
NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging everyone in St Helens who knows anyone who may be at risk from flu to tell them how important it is that they get protected. People who are carers and frontline health and social care staff are also encouraged to get a free jab to protect themselves and those around them.
The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe. The jab doesn’t contain the ‘live’ virus so it cannot give you the flu.
Professor O'Brien added: “Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the kids or go to work. In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital - it can even be a killer.”
“If you’re in any of the ’at risk’ groups, the flu jab is completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes.”
The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it’s good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter.
Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu