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NHS urges people to get flu jab

NHS urges people to get flu jab
19 October 2018

A leading local GP has supported the call for all members of the public to get vaccinated against flu this winter, especially those who are in high-risk groups.

Dr Paul Bowen, our clinical chair, and GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton said: “You can catch flu – short for influenza – all year round but it's especially common in winter, which is why it's also known as ‘seasonal flu’. Flu can confine healthy people to bed for days, cause misery for millions and can even kill those most at risk of falling seriously ill if they catch it.

“This is why I’m encouraging all eligible groups to get this year’s flu vaccine before the new strains arrive on our shores this autumn. It is important to get the jab every year as a new vaccine is developed annually to combat the strains which are most likely to emerge over the coming winter.”

Dr Bowen stressed that last year’s outbreak was the worst in seven years, combining with poor weather and an increase in respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses to cause suffering for many.

He highlighted the risk that flu poses to children: “Children under five years are more likely to be hospitalised due to flu than any other age group. Yet protection can be achieved for children in the form of a nasal spray. It is an easy, simple, painless way of vaccinating your child.”

The spray vaccine offers important protection not only to children but also prevents the virus being passed on to others, including people at risk of falling serious ill if they catch flu.

Dr Bowen also urged pregnant women to get the flu vaccine, as it helps to protect both mother and baby. He said studies had shown that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.

“It’s safe to have the flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, and women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives. That’s why I’m urging the 7,000 mums-to-be in Eastern Cheshire to get their flu jab as soon as possible.

“If you are pregnant then you can contact your midwife to find out where you can get the flu vaccine as, in some areas, midwives can give a flu vaccine at an antenatal clinic.”

People who do not fall into one of the at-risk categories can get the same jab at various local pharmacies for around £10.

More information about those who are eligible for the free vaccine, the symptoms of flu and what you should do if you think you have it can be found on NHS.uk by searching ‘flu vaccine’.