Many people think it’s too late to get your flu jab in January. If this is what you’re thinking, think again.
At this time of the year, we see an increasing number of people get the flu which can be avoided by having the flu jab.
The jab is relatively painless and most don’t have any side effects. Some may develop a cold or slight temperature but this should settle without treatment in a couple of days.
For many people, a bout of flu makes you feel miserable but it’s not a serious illness. If you are generally healthy, you will usually recover from it within a week.
But some people are more at risk of developing potentially serious health problems from flu, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and sometimes death. The NHS offers the flu vaccine free of charge to the following groups:
- are 65 years old or over
- children aged six months to two years at risk of flu
- women who are pregnant
- have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease
- are very overweight
- are living in a long-stay care home
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for someone who may be at risk if you fall ill
If you do not fall into the above criteria, you can still purchase a jab at many local pharmacies across Doncaster to help protect yourself and others.
Dr David Crichton, Chair, Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There are still a number of GP surgeries and pharmacies across Doncaster that have a stock of the flu jab. If you haven’t had the vaccine, please do consider it as an option to help reduce the spread of flu.
“At this time of the year, flu can spread rapidly and as a GP, I would encourage as many people as possible to have the jab – to protect themselves, their friends and family.”
Over the last few weeks, we have seen an increasing number of people attend the emergency department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary with flu or flu like symptoms.
To reduce the spread of flu, it is important to have the jab to reduce the chances of attracting the virus. But for those that have the flu it is important to try and avoid attending A&E unless it is absolutely necessary.
Dr Ken Agwuh, Director of Infection, Prevention and Control, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Flu can cause a range of illnesses from mild to severe, even among healthy people. People aged 65 and over, pregnant women, anyone with diabetes, chest or heart conditions and others in at-risk groups are advised to have the flu vaccine.
“At this time of the year, it is important to help reduce the spread of the virus by staying at home. If you do need medical advice or support, please call NHS 111 who will be able to help. Every one person that can be advised or treated at home can ultimately help reduce the spread of the virus.”
Dr Rupert Suckling, Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council said: “The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can cause unpleasant illness in children and severe illness and sometimes death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical health condition.
“Flu vaccines are usually given from September to November to help protect people from the virus. We know many people in Doncaster have already received the vaccine but we need to continue to encourage as many people as possible to have the vaccine during the current flu season. If you haven’t had the jab already, please contact your local GP or pharmacist.”
So please do your bit and help protect yourself and others – let’s fight the flu together.