The temperatures have dropped and the Christmas decorations are already up in Oxford Street, which means winter is well and truly on the way. This year, Public Health England and the NHS want you to take your health into your own hands by making sure you ‘Stay Well this Winter’. Getting a flu vaccination is one of the easiest ways you can protect your health, and we provide more information, as well as the benefits of getting vaccinated below.
Who should get a flu jab?
For most healthy adults, flu is an uncomfortable and unpleasant illness, but most tend to recover from it within a week or two. People who are at risk however cold be vulnerable to pneumonia, bronchitis and other complications, with serious consequences. Those who are the most at risk include:
- Pregnant women
- People aged 65 and over
- Those with life threatening conditions
- Carers, particularly those working with older people
For the first time, the NHS will be providing the nasal spray vaccination free to millions of 2-6 year olds in a bid to crack down on outbreaks. Anyone considered ‘at risk’ can receive a flu jab from their local GP for free, so if you’re concerned about your risk of flu, speak to your doctor.
The benefits of a flu jab
Many people are afraid of having vaccinations, but they needn’t be. The benefits of getting a flu jab from your GP include:
- Protection from flu, and the complications it could bring
- Protection from complications of any existing conditions you may have such as diabetes, kidney or liver problems
- Protection for friends and family and others you may come into contact with
- Limiting the chance that you will need to see your doctor during one of the busiest times of the year
- Limiting the risk of needing to go to hospital, where other typical winter viruses can spread easily
- Easy to get and minimal time involved
Getting your flu jab
Your local GP will be running flu jab sessions now to ensure as many people as possible are vaccinated. Contact your GP directly to book an appointment.
What to do if you come down with flu
As part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign, people are being encouraged to look after their own health by taking steps to stay well, such as keeping warm and eating healthily, as well as practicing self-care. If you develop a cold or initial symptoms of flu, speak to your pharmacist who will be able to advise you and recommend some medication. Drink plenty of fluids and rest at home, but if your symptoms worsen, or you fall into one of the ‘at risk’ categories, make an appointment with your doctor.
You can find more information about the winter flu vaccine from the NHS website as well as information on how to look after yourself and your family and stay well this winter.