Everything you need to know about flu, and why getting the vaccination is recommended…
It is estimated that 250,000-500,000 die every year around the world as a result of contracting the flu virus.
Influenza vaccines are given to protect individuals against specific flu viruses, and getting the flu vaccine helps to reduce the spread of the disease.
This also reduces the chance of passing on the flu virus to other people who may be at risk – they might have compromised immunity and suffer more than a healthy adult.
Flu vaccines are created to stimulate the immune system which then kick-starts your body’s own immune response to be able to fight specific strains.
These specific strains have been predicted by immunologists from previous winter months.
It is advisable to have the flu vaccine every year because every year the immunologists make different predictions about which strains will be the most prevalent.
The best time to have the vaccine is between September and November.
It is recommended to have the vaccine in the early autumn, so you have full immunity by the time the virus season starts.
Remember, it will take two weeks from vaccination for your immune system to become fully protected.
In the UK around 600 people will suffer with complications and die after contracting the flu virus, however, some years may see an epidemic, so this figure may rise to over 10,000 people.
Flu leads to thousands of hospital stays per year which could be avoided if more people were vaccinated, they would be protecting the wider population.
Last year over 14 million adults and children in England were vaccinated against flu.
Should you have the vaccine?
The injected vaccine is offered for free on the NHS to people at risk, helping protect them catching flu and the various complications it brings.
It is advised you have the flu vaccine if you:
· Are pregnant, this will also help to protect your unborn child
· Are aged 65 years or over
· Are living in a long-stay residential care home or care facility
· Receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
· If you live with someone with a compromised immune system, such as someone undergoing chemotherapy
· Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible however it is your employer’s responsibility to arrange for this vaccine.
What if I am currently on medications?
The vaccine is offered for free on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:
· Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases e.g. Asthma (needing steroid treatment, or that has led to previous hospital admission), COPD, emphysema or bronchitis
· Chronic heart disease, e.g. heart failure
· Chronic kidney disease
· Chronic liver disease
· Chronic neurological conditions
· Problems with your spleen e.g. sickle cell disease or spleen removal
· A weakened immune system
· Being seriously overweight (BMI of 40 or above)
Please note this list is not definitive and the judgment of eligibility is down to the clinician.
The safety of patients is of major importance to all healthcare staff.
Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record – the vaccine does not contain any live viruses and CANNOT GIVE YOU FLU.
Also note, the potential harm from flu is much worse than the potential side effects from the vaccine.
Potential side effects include: pain, swelling or redness at the injection site, slightly high temperature, headache, feeling a bit unwell, tiredness or shivering.
Pinches Medical have flu vaccines for 2018-2019 available from September onwards.
Please contact reception on 01625 704 777 or [email protected]
Article sponsored by Pinches Medical + Wellbeing