What we do
The health board is committed to our patients, staff and visitors and will continue to actively promote the flu vaccination in order to protect our local community.
FLU season is here again so it’s important that you ensure that you are protected against flu.
Vaccination is safe and the single best protection against catching and spreading flu.
Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, and it is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold and can even make healthy people feel unwell.
The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. In most cases, the symptoms are quite mild, but in others they can be very serious.
Flu is caused by a virus which can spread rapidly: anyone can pick up the virus and pass it on to those who are at more risk of serious illness. Because flu is caused by viruses and not bacteria, antibiotics won’t treat it.
Getting vaccinated now will provide important protection over the coming winter months.
Why should you have the flu vaccination?
For those who already have a chronic health condition, the very young and the elderly it can cause serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia requiring hospital treatment. For some it can unfortunately have life-threatening consequences.
Pregnant women are also at high risk because during pregnancy their immune system is reduced. For them catching flu can lead to complications such as the baby being born prematurely or of low birth weight as well as increasing the chances of having a still born baby.
Children’s Flu Vaccine
The nasal spray provides a quick and painless way to protect your child from flu.
Who is it for?
If you are in any of the following risk groups, you are entitled to a free flu jab:
- Aged 65 years and over
- Living in a residential or nursing home
- Aged six months and over with chronic conditions such as asthma, chest or heart complaints, kidney disease,
diabetes, neurological condition or suppressed immunity
- Child aged two or three
- Children aged two to six years
- Obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or over
- Children aged 2 – 6 years
- Children aged 2 – 16 with a long term condition
Can anyone use this service?
If you are not eligible for a free flu vaccination but wish to protect yourself against flu, visit a local pharmacy to get your vaccination which costs around £10.
The flu vaccine is cultivated using hen’s eggs. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are very rare.
If you have a serious egg allergy, please speak to your GP practice as a few people may not be able to have the vaccine.
What to expect
Let’s dispel the myths about flu:
Can the vaccine give you flu?
The flu vaccine IS NOT a live vaccine, it does not give you flu.
I never get ill/get the flu and have never had a jab
Even though you may not feel ill does not mean you aren’t carrying the virus. You could pass the virus on to a vulnerable family member, which could have serious consequences. There is no such thing as natural immunity as the strains of flu virus constantly change.
The effects of the jab are worse than getting flu itself
There are some common side effects to the vaccination, however these are usually mild. They include:
- A sore arm
- Neck pain
- A local reaction at the site of the vaccination
Will the flu vaccine protect me completely?
The vaccine offers good protection against flu in the flu season it is given, especially the nasal spray in children. Protection starts around a week to ten days after the vaccination. You may still get flu even after vaccination but often with milder symptoms. The vaccine will not protect you against colds and other winter illnesses.
What should I do if I get flu?
Rest at home in bed if needed, keep warm and drink plenty of water. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary.
Help stop the flu spread
The flu virus is spread in the small droplets of saliva coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. It can also spread if someone with the virus touches common surfaces such as door handles with unwashed hands.
Catch It, Bin It, Kill It. Preventing the spread of germs is the most effective way to slow the spread of flu. Always:
- Carry a tissue
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue
- Bin the tissue as soon as possible
- Clean your hands as soon as you can or use a sanitiser gel.
Contact your GP or local Pharmacy today to make an appointment to have the vaccination.
For more information about flu, visit: http://www.beatflu.org