Why it’s vital to protect yourself from flu with jab

KEEPING HEALTHY A patient receives the flu jab
KEEPING HEALTHY A patient receives the flu jab
Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

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COMING down with the flu may cause you to feel horrible for a few days and spend time at home recovering.

But other times it can become more serious, and you risk passing on the bug to others.

That’s why Portsmouth City Council’s public health team is reminding people to get the flu jab.

Depending on circumstances, some people are eligible for a free flu vaccination.

Dawn Saunders is a consultant in public health.

She said: ‘Symptoms of flu can be very unpleasant and can last for several days – flu can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia and bronchitis which need hospital treatment.

‘The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu jab.

‘This is available free to eligible people from your GP and is the best protection against the virus.’

The vaccination is free for the following people:

· People aged over 65.

· Pregnant women.

· Those living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility.

· Those receiving a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill.

· A healthcare worker with direct patient contact or a social care worker.

· People aged 65 or under, with kidney or liver disease, diabetes, heart or chest complaints such as asthma.

Children should also be vaccinated.

‘For the first time, young children aged two and three will be offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect them against flu,’ added Ms Saunders.

‘If you’re generally a healthy person, you can usually manage the symptoms of a cold or flu yourself without having to see a doctor.

‘Make sure you rest and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration and take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve aches and pains.

‘It’s important not to spread the virus. Try to sneeze into a tissue and throw it away immediately.

‘Wash your hands regularly and, if you or your family are eligible, see your GP about having the flu jab.’

MYTH-BUSTING THE FLU JAB

THERE are some common misconceptions or understandings when it comes to the flu jab.

Below is a list of a few facts that are misunderstood:

· The vaccination is tested – seasonal flu vaccine is given to millions of people in the UK each year.

The specific strains of flu included may change from one year to the next, but vaccines are still thoroughly tested and are safe.

· You do not get flu from the flu jab – it is impossible to get flu from having the flu jab because the vaccine doesn’t contain live viruses.

A very small number of people experience side effects such as aching muscles, but this is simply the immune system responding to the vaccine.

· Pregnant women can have the vaccination – pregnant women can have the flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy.

Having the vaccination when pregnant is beneficial and helps protect the baby from flu over the first few months of life.

To find out more about the vaccination, visit nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/who-should-have-flu-vaccine.aspx

HOW TO SPOT SYMPTOMS OF FLU

ALTHOUGH symptoms of flu and cold can be similar, there are a few differences.

Flu usually comes on much more quickly than a cold, and symptoms include; sudden fever, muscle aches and pains, sweating, a dry, chesty cough, and sneezing, which comes one to three days after infection.