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12 - Get your flu jab this winter

People are being advised to take up offers of free flu jabs this winter in the face of an increasing number of flu cases.

 

Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands is urging people to help the region stay well this winter by preventing the spread of flu. The West Midlands has seen large increases in the number of people catching flu, with figures higher than this time last year.

It’s not too late to get the vaccine, which is particularly recommended for people in higher risk groups such as pregnant women, people with a long-term medical condition, those aged over 65 and children born between 1September 2008 and 31 August 2015. Parents of school aged children in this group should seek advice from their school.

Dr Helen Carter, Deputy Director at Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, said:

“Our data shows that more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms and we are seeing more people admitted to hospitals with the flu.

 “The vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu and it isn’t too late for people to go to their GP or pharmacist and get vaccinated – especially those in risk groups including those aged 65 and over, pregnant women or those with a long-term medical condition. Talk to your GP, pharmacist or midwife about your eligibility.”

Councillor Peter Miller, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said:

“Flu is a really unpleasant illness, and in some cases can actually pose a threat to life which is why it is so important for people who are more vulnerable to take up the offer of free flu vaccinations.

Symptoms of flu include sudden onset of fever, cough as well as sore throat, aching muscles and joints. The best advice is to rest, keep warm and drink plenty of water. People should also take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary.

People suffering with flu-like symptoms should catch coughs or sneezes in tissues and bin them immediately, wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water and frequently clean regularly used surfaces to stop the spread of flu. It is also important that people with symptoms of flu avoid unnecessary contact with other people, including avoiding GP surgeries, A&E and residential care.

People can find out more about staying well this winter at https://www.nhs.uk/staywell

 

Notes to editors:

People with these health conditions are eligible for the free flu jab:

  • COPD, bronchitis, emphysema or asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Have had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • Diabetes
  • Lowered immunity as a result of disease or medical treatment, such as steroid medication or cancer treatment
  • A neurological condition, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, or a learning disability
  • A problem with their spleen, including sickle cell disease, or if they have had their spleen removed
  • A BMI of 40 or above (seriously overweight)

 

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