Time running out for flu vaccination in district before season’s peak

At risk groups across the Bradford district area are being reminded the seasonal peak in flu cases is due to start in the next few week’s.

The Council’s Public Health team is urging people to make sure they get their flu vaccination if they are entitled to it to protect themselves and others from the virus. The latest national statistics show around two in every three people who are pregnant, children aged 2, 3 and 4 years old or who have long term health conditions are yet to get this year’s dose of the vaccine. Those aged 65 or older by the 31 March 2015 are also eligible for a free flu vaccination.

People in the clinically ‘at risk’ groups are 11 times more likely to experience complications if they get the flu than a ‘healthy person’. This includes those suffering from heart, lung, liver, kidney, spleen or neurological diseases, diabetes, stroke or a lowered immune system.

Pregnant women who get the vaccination will also pass on the protection to their babies for the first few months after they are born. All 2, 3 and 4 year olds are being asked to take a safe and effective nasal spray vaccine to protect themselves and help prevent the spread of flu.

Ralph Saunders, Head of Public Health for Bradford Council, says:

“Making an appointment to have a quick and simple vaccination is a lot easier than suffering from the flu for a couple of weeks. If you receive a letter from your GP or employer, it’s because you need it.

“It can take a couple of weeks for the body to produce the antibody it needs to protect yourself so there is no advantage in waiting until the peak of the flu season is here.

“Flu is not just a cold. It is very contagious and can be a really serious illness. Having the flu vaccine doesn’t just protect you; it helps stop the flu spreading to other people who may be even more vulnerable than yourself.”

Mary Law, Screening and Immunisation Manager, on behalf of Screening and Immunisation Team, NHS England (West Yorkshire).

“Even if you’ve already had a flu jab in previous years, you need another one this year. This is because the viruses that cause flu are always changing.

“We would particularly encourage older people, adults and children in at risk groups and mums-to-be to make sure they have their flu jab to protect themselves.

“For mums–to–be this protects themselves and their unborn babies as flu can lead to serious complications in pregnant women. National guidance states the vaccine is safe throughout pregnancy and can protect newborn babies up to about four to six months from birth.”

For most healthy people not in at risk groups, flu remains a mild illness and generally they will recover in a few days after getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and using over-the-counter remedies such as paracetamol. You can also prevent the spread of the virus by always carrying a tissue and using them to catch coughs or sneezes, disposing of the tissue and then washing your hands.

If you aren’t getting any better then stay at home and call your doctor or call 111 for non-urgent medical advice. Selected local pharmacies are also offering the flu vaccination free to at risk groups who are registered with a GP. Anyone not at risk can also get the injection, although a charge will apply.

 

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