Local health chiefs at Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reminding people that it’s not too late to get the flu jab.
It is free for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu: people aged 65 and over, children aged 2-3, pregnant women, carers and anyone with a long-term health condition. It’s free because you need it.
Dr Shammy Noor, a GP at the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs said: “To reduce the risk of spreading flu, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with warm water and soap, and bin used tissues as quickly as possible. But the flu jab is also important to protect people in these particularly at-risk groups.”
Dr Mo Huda, a GP at the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs said: “Flu is a virus and it doesn’t create too many problems if you’re fit and healthy. Unfortunately, flu can be very dangerous for more vulnerable people – such as over 65s, with long-term conditions or people who have to take medication that might supress their immune system.”
Cold weather can be particularly harmful for older people as it weakens the immune system, raises blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature. These all increase the risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.
Flu can also be horrible for little children and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family. For children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray.
Pregnancy naturally lowers the immune system so the flu jab is the safest way to help protect you and your baby against flu. You can have the vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.
For more information on the flu visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu
You can find information about your local pharmacies and their opening hours at www.nhs.uk