Flu season strikes – don’t leave yourself unprotected
After a slow start, winter illnesses are beginning to take hold, with confirmed cases of flu now being reported across the country.
The good news for Hertfordshire residents is that this year’s vaccine has been proven to be effective against the strain of flu that is circulating and local GP surgeries still have vaccines available for people who are particularly at risk.
Having a flu vaccination is a quick and easy way to protect yourself and your family this winter. For those aged over 65, pregnant women, children aged 2 to 9 years old and adults and older children with underlying health conditions, the flu vaccine is free because you need it.
For most people, flu is a tiring and unpleasant illness. However for older people, young children, pregnant women and those with conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease, the flu can lead to serious complications and even death.
If you have become pregnant since the start of the winter period, then you can get the vaccine now. Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby. You can get vaccinated at any point during your pregnancy, so ask your GP, pharmacist or midwife about the free flu jab now.
Dr Prag Moodley, local GP and Chair at East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We all know that coughs and colds spread like wildfire during the winter, and the same is true for flu.
“Doctor’s surgeries still have supplies of the flu vaccine so if you are one of the people who can get a free flu vaccine there is still time, get in touch with them today and arrange to have your vaccination or visit your local pharmacist. If you’re not eligible for a free vaccine, then consider paying for a flu jab at your local pharmacy. It costs around £10 or less and can ensure you don’t get flu or pass it on to more vulnerable people.”
Aside from having your flu vaccine, the best way to prevent the spread of flu is to practice good hand hygiene. Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
If you think you have flu, it is important to stay home and rest until you feel better. Call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition and or feel really unwell. Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information.