Flu does kill… Get the jab - get ‘Flu Safe’
Flu does kill and the vaccination does give protection against it.
That’s the message from local GPs who are urging patients at risk of developing serious complications from flu, to get protected.
Complications of flu mostly affect people in high risk groups such as pregnant women, people aged 65 and over and those living with a long term medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, a heart or chest complaint or lowered immunity – for example those patients receiving treatment for cancer. Carers and those living in nursing or residential homes are also being offered the jab, as well as front line health and social care workers.
The NHS in England is launching the new Flu Safe campaign to remind eligible patients that they should have the jab to get protected against flu. Flu Safe is a national message to highlight the importance of getting the jab. The campaign highlights facts about flu to dispel common misconceptions. The vaccine does not contain any live viruses, so it cannot cause flu.
Although the majority of normally healthy people will recover from flu within a few days, patients in high risk groups are more likely to have a bad case of flu and develop a serious complication such as a chest infection, bronchitis or pneumonia. Flu is more likely to put people in high risk groups in danger.
Dr. Kiran Patel, Chairman and Clinical Lead for the NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Local GP practices have been gearing up to vaccinate their high risk patients to protect them from flu. The vaccine is free, safe, saves lives and offers protection for a whole year.”
“For the majority of normally healthy adults flu is unpleasant and inconvenient, but they will begin to feel better usually within a week. Some people, however, are more likely to have a bad case of flu and develop serious complications such as a chest infection. In a small number of cases, flu can cause patients to become critically ill and even die from the infection.”
Dr. Peter Elton, Bury’s Director of Public Health added: “If you are eligible for the flu jab, get protected as soon as you are invited. It’s free and can save your life. Don’t delay, as the sooner you have the vaccine the sooner you are protected. Contact your GP practice and make an appointment. This advice is particularly important for pregnant women, who can be hit hard by the flu virus.”
The flu jab is available free of charge on the NHS to eligible groups. Eligible patients should contact their GP practice to make an appointment and get Flu Safe for the winter.
Date: 21st September 2012
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Notes to Editor:
- Flu Safe is a public health campaign first implemented in London in 2011/12. In 2012/13 it forms a nationwide campaign, which will be delivered locally by the NHS. It provides clear messages to members of the public deemed to be at risk from flu to encourage them to make an informed decision to get a free flu jab. Flu Safe provides a comprehensive and positive seasonal flu campaign, with potential to become recognised across England.
- Flu is a highly infectious and very common viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. Flu circulates all year round, but is especially common during winter, which is why it is also known as 'seasonal flu'.
- The symptoms of flu include a sudden high temperature, headache and general aches and pains, tiredness and sore throat. You can also lose your appetite, feel nauseous and have a cough.
- Every year a vaccine is developed to protect against the strains of flu virus that are likely to be circulating that winter.
- 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 in time for the winter. Patients should simply contact their GP Practice to arrange a convenient appointment and get their jab. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
- Long term medical conditions include: asthma, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, a heart or chest complaint or lowered immunity. For more information on who should have the flu vaccination visit - http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu-jab/Pages/Whyitshouldbedone.aspx
- Relatively few patients would have flu noted as the cause of death on their death certificate, but when more flu is seen by GPs there is a spike in deaths from chronic conditions such as heart failure and COPD.
- For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu