As the colder weather starts to set in, GPs are advising older people and those at risk of getting serious complications from flu to have the flu jab.
Each winter the free flu jab is offered to people in ‘at risk’ groups. These include everyone aged 65 and over, children and adults under 65 with certain medical conditions and all pregnant women. A flu nasal spray is also available for all healthy children aged two and three years.
Dr Mike Caskey, GP at Park Medical Practice in Peterborough, said: “Flu is not like a bad cold. It can lead to other illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In more extreme cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, and it can even be a killer.”
One of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) key priorities for this area is to improve the care for older people. Simple steps such as encouraging our elderly population to have the flu jab can help prevent them developing more serious illnesses during the coming winter months.”
The free flu jab is available from the NHS GP surgeries. It takes around 10 days to start working, so the sooner people have it; the quicker they’ll be protected. Those who care for older people are also advised to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves but the person they care for, who may be particularly vulnerable.
Dr Mike Caskey added: “Flu is a highly infectious illness caused by a virus. The types of virus in circulation change every year as does the vaccine, so it is important that you have the jab every year, even if you had it last year.”
Now is the best time to get the jab to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter. Anyone who thinks they, or someone they care for, may be eligible for the free flu jab, should call their GP surgery as soon as possible to check and to book an appointment.
For more information on the flu vaccine, go to http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Fluandthefluvaccine.aspx