As winter approaches, NHS Wirral says it's time for those most at risk from flu to get a free jab (From Wirral Globe)
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As winter approaches, NHS Wirral says it's time for those most at risk from flu to get a free jab
10:41am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
WIRRAL health chiefs are advising readers it’s time for those at greatest risk from flu to protect themselves and their families with a free immunisation jab.
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 and over, pregnant women, and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.
From October, those people at most risk will be encouraged to have a free flu jab from their GP.
The NHS in England is launching a new "Flu Safe" campaign to highlight the importance of getting the jab and to promote facts about flu to dispel common misconceptions.
Fiona Johnstone, Wirral’s Director of Public Health, said: “Flu isn’t just a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people.
"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, 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 Wirral is encouraging everyone in the borough who knows anyone who may be at risk from flu to explain to them the importance of getting protected.
Carers and frontline health and social care staff are also encouraged to have 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 safe.
Fiona 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 of seasonal flu, you could end up 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 before the winter.
Contact your GP practice to arrange an appointment for your jab. NHS Wirral says 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.