Time for your flu vaccination?

Time for your flu vaccination?

The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications.

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you're otherwise healthy, it'll usually clear up on its own in about a week.

But flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

  • anyone aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
  • children and adults with weakened immune systems
  • Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.

 

Those people eligible for a flu vaccination are being contacted by your GP surgery.

Please come to the surgery for your vaccination at the exact time stated on your appointment – this is to prevent you waiting and to ensure social distancing and safety due to Coronavirus.

Please follow the instructions your GP surgery will give you regarding having the vaccination – it is safe to attend the surgery for this.

 

This year the flu vaccine is being offered on the NHS to:

  • adults 65 and over
  • people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
  • pregnant women
  • people living with someone who's at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
  • children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2020
  • children in primary school
  • children in year 7 (secondary school)
  • frontline health or social care workers

Later in the year, the flu vaccine may be given to people aged 50 to 64. More information will be available later in the autumn.

However, if you're aged 50 to 64 and in an at-risk group, you should not delay having your flu vaccine.

 

What is flu (influenza)?

It is a disease caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract, and is commonly called “the flu”. Compared with most other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza infection often causes a more severe illness.

 

What is the treatment?

Get plenty of rest.

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (i.e. water, juice and tea).

Take non-aspirin medication for fever and body aches.

 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms usually appear within 2 to 4 days after being infected and include:

  • Fever (usually 100.5 F to 103.5 F in adults and
  • often even higher in children)Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Extreme fatigue

 

Most people who get the flu recover completely in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. Flu-related complications can occur at any age; however, the elderly, people with chronic health problems, pregnant women and young children are much more likely to develop serious complications after influenza infection.

 

Viruses that cause flu

These are spread by direct contact with respiratory droplets (i.e., coughing and sneezing). Flu viruses enter the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth. Those at highest risk for infection live in densely populated areas, are in crowded living situations, or attend school.

 

How is it prevented?

The best way to prevent influenza is to be vaccinated against it. The influenza vaccine is made from inactivated (killed) influenza viruses each flu season; the vaccine will boost the immune system’s ability to fight various flu viruses.  

There is also a flu vaccine available as a nasal spray which is a weakened form of the live virus. Sometimes, an unpredicted new strain may appear after the vaccine has been made and distributed. Even if someone does become infected with the new strain of influenza, the disease symptoms may be milder because the vaccine may provide some protection. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.

 

Additional prevention measures

Wash hands frequently, especially after coughing, sneezing and handling used tissues.

Avoid close contact with those who have cold or flu-like symptoms.

After contact with a person who is ill, wash your hands and keep your fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of the virus.

Boost your immune system by eating a healthy diet, and getting regular physical activity and plenty of rest.

 

For more information on flu and the vaccination, click here