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Health Chiefs Work Together To Get Us All Flu Safe

Tracy Flu Jab with Clare Watson
Clare Watson, left, receiving a flu jab from Tracy Bullock, right.

20 October 2017

Health chiefs in South Cheshire and Vale Royal are working together to get as many people who are eligible to get their free NHS flu jab this winter.

Symptoms of flu can be very unpleasant and, but for certain people, can lead to more serious complications. The NHS is therefore encouraging them to have the free flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is free for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged two and three-years-old
  • People aged 65 and over
  • Those with (or a carer of someone with) a long-term health condition

 

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.

Flu can be horrible for little children and, if they get it, they can spread it to the whole family. For children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray.

Cold weather can be particularly harmful to older people as it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.

To show the importance of being immunised, especially for those looking after people with health conditions, Tracy Bullock, Nurse and Chief Executive at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT) offered a flu jab to Clare Watson, Accountable Officer at NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Vale Royal CCG.

In a joint comment, they said: “If you are eligible for the flu vaccine it’s really important that you don’t wait to get it.

“For pregnant women, children aged two and three, people 65 and over or those with a long-term health condition, flu can cause serious complications so vaccination is the best protection we have against this unpredictable virus.” 

Prevention is always better than cure, especially as flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

You can reduce the risk of spreading flu by washing your hands often with warm water and soap, using tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, and binning used tissues as quickly as possible.

Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:

  • A sudden fever - a temperature of 38C or above
  • Aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Dry, chesty cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain

 

The symptoms are similar for children but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.

For most people, you can treat these symptoms yourself, at home, by having plenty of rest and sleep and keeping warm. Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen will help keep your temperature, treat aches and pains and drinking plenty of water will avoid you becoming dehydrated.

Your local pharmacist can also give you treatment advice and recommend flu remedies – especially if it’s your child who’s unwell.  You can also get advice, 24/7, for free by calling NHS 111.

Following the above steps are the best way to handle flu, but it can become more serious.  If your symptoms don’t improve after seven days, you’re worried about your child’s health, you’re 65 or over, pregnant, or have a long-term condition, you may need to see you GP.

Find out more about keeping yourself and others safe and well this winter at www.nhs.uk/staywell