NHS Cambridgeshire advises at-risk residents to protect themselves against flu

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RESIDENTS who are most at risk of developing serious complications from flu are being advised by NHS Cambridgeshire to take advantage of a free flu jab.

People over 65 are at risk of developing serious complications from flu and are advised to continue getting a flu jab every year. People under 65 who are most at risk of developing serious complications from flu need to take advantage of the flu jab. At-risk groups include adults and children who suffer from:

- Chronic respiratory disease such as asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis

- Heart disease

- Diabetes

- Kidney or liver disease

- Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment

- Chronic neurological disease such as stroke/transient ischaemic attack (TIA) Multiple Sclerosis.

- All pregnant women irrespective of their stage of pregnancy.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Cambridgeshire said: “All at-risk residents, including pregnant women, are being offered the flu vaccine to protect them from contracting a potentially serious infection. A bad bout of flu is much worse than a heavy cold. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, aching muscles, cough and sore throat. These come on suddenly and sometimes severely. You are likely to spend two or three days in bed and if you get complications caused by flu you could become very seriously ill and have to go to hospital.”

Every year the flu vaccine is developed to protect against the latest viruses, therefore it is important to have a flu vaccine every year. The flu jab cannot cause flu as there are no active viruses in the vaccine. However, people sometimes catch other flu-like viruses, or very occasionally could catch flu before the vaccine takes effect. Some people may experience mild fever and slight muscle aches for a day or so after receiving the flu jab.

If you think you need a seasonal flu vaccination, check with your nurse, GP or local pharmacist. Vaccination is normally available, free of charge, in GP surgeries from the beginning of October. So make an appointment with your GP surgery as soon as possible.

To prevent the spread of flu, members of the public are encouraged to practise correct respiratory and hand hygiene when coughing and sneezing, to prevent the spread of germs particularly during the cold and flu season:

Catch it: Germs spread easily. Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.

Bin it: Germs can live for several hours on tissues. Dispose of your tissue as soon as possible.

Kill it: Hands can transfer germs to every surface you touch. Clean your hands as soon as you can.

Further information about the flu vaccination is available from: www.nhs.co.uk