With flu levels starting to increase, Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (MECCG) is encouraging those at greatest risk to get their flu jabs.
Pregnant women, older people and those with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart, lung, liver or renal diseases and weakened immune systems, are being offered free vaccinations.
So far 68 per cent of people over 65 in mid Essex have had a flu jab but only 38 per cent of people under 65 ‘at risk’ have done the same.
Medical Director of MECCG, Dr Donald McGeachy, said: “The NHS is well prepared for the flu season, and although flu levels remain relatively low, they have started to increase.
“Prevention is better than cure so it is important to get your flu jab if you are in an at-risk group. If you have not already had it, please call your GP and arrange to have it done as soon possible.”
The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe. Contrary to popular belief, the vaccination cannot give you flu as it doesn’t contain the ‘live’ virus.
Dr McGeachy continued: “Although unpleasant, for most healthy people, flu is a self-limiting illness. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, cough as well as sore throat, aching muscles and joints.
“The best advice for treating flu in healthy people is to stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and take pain relievers such as paracetamol. Children under 16 should not take any medicines containing aspirin.”
Pregnant women, patients under 65 years of age with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart, lung, liver or renal diseases and weakened immune systems, can get the flu jab by booking an appointment with their GP or without appointment at various community pharmacies. Click here for details of pharmacies offering this service.
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu.