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Make sure you have your free flu jab
3:48pm Monday 14th October 2013 in News
NHS teams in Manchester are gearing up for flu season by encouraging key risk groups to come forward for their annual vaccination.
The flu jab is available on the NHS for people who are in priority ‘risk’ groups. This includes anyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women (at any stage of their pregnancy) and people with long-term health conditions.
Each year in the UK flu causes 600 deaths. Flu symptoms can start suddenly – and in some cases severely – including fever, chills, headaches, aching muscles as well as a cough or sore throat. Some people are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Dr Ivan Benett from Central Manchester CCG said: “A bad bout of flu is very different from having a heavy cold. It can make some people in the risk groups seriously ill, so it’s vital that they come forward for a quick and painless jab, which could prevent this from happening.”
Flu – which is caused by a virus– cannot be treated by antibiotics, which only work on bacteria.
The viruses that cause flu change each year, which is why people need a yearly vaccination that matches the new viruses. The jab also gives protection against the H1N1 swine flu, as well as the two strains of flu that are predicted to be circulating this winter.
A flu vaccine is available free on the NHS for:
• pregnant women
• children aged two and three (this is now part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme)
• children aged two -18 with a long-term health condition
• people aged 65 and over
• people with a serious medical condition
• healthcare workers or carers
• people living in a residential or nursing home.
A full list of people eligible for the flu jab is available on the main NHS website (www.nhs.net) by typing flu in the search bar.
Dr Benett continues: “Most people who come for the vaccination say things afterwards about how surprised they were that it didn’t hurt.
“If there are any side-effects, they are normally very mild. It certainly doesn’t bring on flu – which is still a common misconception – because it does not contain active virus.
“If you think you need the vaccination, then talk to your GP or practice nurse. Having the vaccination will not only protect you, but it will also stop you from passing the virus on to others including friends and family.”
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