11:14, Wednesday, 14th November 2018

We are urging residents to get their flu jab before the winter months’ set in – to protect them and those they come into contact with from the virus.

The cold weather can be harmful to health, especially the vulnerable e.g. elderly and young children. The vaccination offers the best protection against the unpredictable virus. People with flu are approximately 11 times more likely to die if they have an underlying health condition.

Flu is an unpleasant illness, though if you are healthy, it is not serious and you will usually recover within a week or two. However, for some, catching flu increases the risk of potentially serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

It is therefore recommended that people protect themselves against the flu virus, particularly for people who come into contact with those who may be vulnerable and for those at highest risk. This would include people who work with vulnerable people such as health and social care staff, social workers and teaching staff.

The flu vaccine is offered FREE on the NHS to those at risk:

  • Those aged 65 years old and over
  • All pregnant women
  • Those aged from six months to less than 65 years who have a serious medical condition (check with your pharmacist or GP to see if you are eligible)
  • Are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
  • Receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer for a n elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
  • Health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients

Those who aren’t eligible to have a free vaccine can get their vaccination at local pharmacies for a small cost. You can find a list of all pharmacies offering this service and their opening times on the NHS websiteThe cost of a flu jab ranges from £7 to £13 depending on the pharmacy.

Remember, you need to be vaccinated every year as flu strains can change each year. Your vaccination you had last year will not protect you this year. To dispel some of the myths around the vaccine:

  • The vaccine cannot give you flu as it does not contain any live viruses
  • Flu is a virus and can affect anyone no matter how good their immune system

Top tips to reduce your risk of catching flu:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Dispose of tissues quickly
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitising gel
  • Remember – catch it, bin it, kill it

Cllr Richard Hannigan, deputy leader and cabinet member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing at North Lincolnshire Council, said:

“The council is committed to helping support and improve health across North Lincolnshire and cannot stress enough how important it is for residents to get the vaccine.

“We can all benefit from getting the flu vaccine to help protect our own health and minimise the risk of others who are more vulnerable. Whatever your health, don’t put off getting the vaccine. Flu is easily spread and even those with mild symptoms can still pass it on to others.”

The vaccine is available through your GP for those who are classed as in the ‘at risk’ group and there are a number of pharmacies who also offer the vaccination. The cost of the vaccine varies from around £7.95.

The children’s flu vaccine is offered as yearly nasal spray to young children to help protect them against the flu. The vaccine is available free on the NHS for:

  • Children aged two or three (but not four years plus) on 31 August 2017 e.g. children born between 1 September 2013 and on or before 31 August 2015
  • Children in reception and school years one, two, three and four (reception year defined as four rising to five year-olds (born between 1 September 2012 and on or before 31 August 2013
  • Children aged from six months to 17 with long-term health conditions

Even if you are not in the ‘at risk’ category for receiving the vaccine free, you can still get the flu vaccine at a number of North Lincolnshire pharmacies across North Lincolnshire for a small charge.