Those at risk from the flu across the Yorkshire district are being asked to stay well this winter by getting their flu vaccination to protect themselves, and loved ones, this winter.
This year’s flu season has now started and those invited to get a flu vaccination, by their GP or employer, are being urged to take up the offer to prevent the spread of flu across the district.
GPs across the district are in the process of inviting people to have their flu injection. This includes all pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3, people aged 65 and over; and those with long term health conditions who are eligible.
People in the clinically ‘at risk’ groups are 11 times more likely to experience complications if they get the flu than a ‘healthy person’. This includes those suffering from heart, lung, liver, kidney, spleen or neurological diseases, diabetes, stroke or a lowered immune system.
Anyone with a BMI over 40 will also qualify for a free flu vaccination.
All parents and carers of two and three-year-olds are being asked to take a safe and effective nasal spray vaccine to protect them and help prevent the spread of flu to family members. School Children in Reception and school Years 1 to 4 will also be able to get the nasal spray vaccine as part of a schools vaccination programme.
If you haven’t received a letter or are a main carer of an older or disabled person you should contact your GP to check if you qualify.
Anita Parkin, Head of Public Health for Bradford Council, says: “If you receive a letter from your GP or employer, it’s because you need to protect yourself from the flu. Making an appointment to have a quick and simple vaccination is a lot quicker than suffering from the flu for several days.”
“It’s not just a cold. Flu is very contagious and can be a really serious illness. If you’ve been sent a letter it is because you are at higher risk from complications that can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.
“Having your flu vaccine doesn’t just protect you; it helps stop the flu spreading to other people who may be even more vulnerable than yourself.”
Mary Law, Screening and Immunisation Manager at NHS England (West Yorkshire) said: “Even if you’ve already had a flu jab in previous years, you need another one this year. This is because the viruses that cause flu are always changing.
“We would particularly encourage older people, adults and children in at risk groups and mums-to-be to make sure they have their flu jab to protect themselves.
“For mums–to–be this protects themselves and their unborn babies as flu can lead to serious complications in pregnant women. National guidance states the vaccine is safe throughout pregnancy and can protect newborn babies up to about four to six months from birth.”
For most healthy people not in at risk groups, flu remains a mild illness and generally they will recover in a few days after getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and using over-the-counter remedies such as paracetamol.
You can also prevent the spread of the virus by always carrying a tissue and using them to catch coughs or sneezes, disposing of the tissue and then washing your hands.
If you aren’t getting any better then stay at home and call your doctor or call 111 for non-urgent medical advice.”
The vaccine for all children aged 2-17 is a safe and effective nasal spray which provides a more effective protection against flu vaccination in this age group. Children, who are allergic to eggs, have severe asthma or a severely weakened immune system will be offered an injection.
Selected local pharmacies are also offering the flu vaccination free to at risk groups who are registered with a GP. Anyone not at risk can also get the injection, although a charge will apply.