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Get the jab, get flu safe

As the autumn sets in and winter approaches, it’s time for those at greatest risk from flu to protect themselves and their families and get flu safe with a free flu jab.

Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some.  Those at greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.

From this week, those people at most risk will be encouraged to get flu safe with a free flu jab from their GP.  The NHS in England is launching the new Flu Safe campaign to remind people that they should get the flu jab which is being backed by NHS Herefordshire.  Flu Safe is a national message to highlight the importance of getting the jab, and carries facts about flu to dispel common misconceptions.

Arif Mahmood, consultant in public health medicine, said: “Flu is not like a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people.

Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse.  It can knock you off your feet and make it heard to look after the kids or go to work.  In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital – it can even be a killer.”

“If you’re pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes, then you should also get a free flu jab from your GP and protect yourself.  The flu jab is completely safe, it can’t give you flu but it can protect you and your family in a matter of minutes.”

NHS Herefordshire is encouraging everyone in Herefordshire who knows anyone who may be at risk from flu to tell them how important it is that they get protected.  People who are carers and frontline health and social care staff are also encourage to get a free jab to protect themselves and those around them.

The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it’s good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter.  Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appoint and get your jab.  Visit www.nhs.uk/flu for more information.