As winter beckons, doctors on the Fylde coast are urging local people who are at risk of flu to book their appointments for a flu jab.
For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant illness that usually lasts a week or so. However, certain people are more at risk from flu and for some it can lead to very serious complications, even if they have been well beforehand. Those at risk are:
- Over 65’s
- Pregnant women
- At risk groups, which cover those with a long term condition (e.g. diabetes), those with a weakened immune system (e.g. cancer patients), heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, kidney disease, liver disease, chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and people in long stay residential homes
- Health and social care workers
- Two and three year olds
Children aged two and three will be offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect them against flu. Young children’s close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to other more vulnerable groups.
The vaccine will include protection against:
- H1N1 – the strain of flu that caused the swine flu pandemic in 2009
- H3N2 – a strain of flu that can infect birds and mammals and was active in 2011
- B/Massachusetts/2 – a strain of flu that was active in 2012
This year, you won’t receive a letter inviting you for a flu vaccination, so it is important that you make an appointment with your GP.
Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, Chief Clinical Officer for NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Flu is not just a common cold. It has the potential to be a serious illness for certain vulnerable people. Although flu is extremely common and affects thousands of us each year, it can have consequences for some people, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, which could require hospital treatment.
“If you are in any of the ‘at risk’ groups then you are entitled to a free flu jab. 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 safe.”
Dr Tony Naughton, a local GP and Clinical Chief Officer of NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, added: “It’s really important that those people in the at-risk groups don’t put off getting the flu vaccine. We understand that it can be hard to find time, but a quick appointment to have your jab will protect you, your family, colleagues and friends. With not receiving a letter this year, it’s vital that you plan for the winter and make the arrangements now.”
This year, GP practices will not be sending out letters inviting you for a flu vaccination, so it is important that you make an appointment with your GP.
For further information please contact the media team at NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU on 01772 214213.