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15 January 2019

There’s still time to get a free flu jab

Public Health leads in Cumbria are reminding those who are eligible to get a free flu vaccination by contacting their general practice, pharmacist or midwife. Flu season is upon us and the vaccine is the best protection against flu.

Who’s eligible?

  • Those aged 65 years and over
  • Those aged six months to under 65 in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Those living in a residential or nursing home
  • The main carer of an older or disabled person
  • Children aged 2-3 and those in reception class, and school years 1-5

The reminder to get vaccinated comes as the Met Office forecasts colder conditions from Wednesday with an 80% chance of severe cold weather between Friday 18 January and Monday 21 January in parts of England, including Cumbria.

Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“The cold weather that winter brings can make people more likely to catch a winter illness that could become very serious.

"If you start to feel unwell, at the first signs of winter illness, get advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious.

“For people with underlying or long-term health conditions, for example those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, we would advise getting the free flu vaccination now by contacting their GP practice or pharmacist.”

Last year in Cumbria more than 37,000 at risk individuals from age six months to under 65 years picked up a free vaccine, as did over 90,000 of those aged 65 years and over.

Distington GP Dr Helen Horton said: 

“We are encouraging people who are eligible to take a moment to plan when they can have the jab. Even if you had your jab last year, you will need to have one again, because flu changes every year.  

“The flu jab is a simple procedure which could ultimately save lives. Don’t wait until there is a flu outbreak this winter; get your vaccination as soon as possible, especially if you are in an ‘at risk’ category.  

“Real flu can be debilitating and if you are already living with a condition, you are either very young or very old it can hit you harder.  

“All NHS staff are encouraged to get the vaccination which will also help to protect patients, colleagues and their families.”

This year, Public Health England are providing a ‘quadrivalent’ vaccine, which offers protection against four strains of flu, to those aged 18-64 with underlying health conditions. For people aged 65 and over, a more effective ‘adjuvanted’ vaccine will be offered which helps their immune systems develop protection against flu.

Hygiene is also an important way to avoid catching flu and preventing its spread. People are advised to carry tissues and use them to catch coughs or sneezes, bin the used tissues as soon as possible and then wash your hands and kill the germs.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.




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Public Health leads in Cumbria are reminding those who are eligible to get their free flu vaccination by contacting their general practice, pharmacist or midwife. Flu season is upon us and the vaccine is the best protection against flu.