Flu vaccinations reminder
9:51am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
PEOPLE who could be at risk from the complications of flu are being encouraged to get the vaccine at their GP surgery.
Those at greatest risk from flu and their carers are eligible to have the free annual vaccine.
Flu is highly contagious. While for most people it is a mild illness treatable with over-the-counter medicines, for some it can be really serious, possibly fatal.
Those at greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women and younger people with underlying medical conditions such as chest or heart complaints, kidney or liver disease, people with weakened immune systems and diabetes. In extreme cases, flu can lead to complications such as pneumonia that can result in a hospital admission.
Felicity Owen, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, said: “It is only a matter of time before we see flu levels escalating once again as the winter arrives. “This is the start of the window of opportunity we have to vaccinate the vulnerable and give time for immunity to build up, which takes a few weeks.
“I would encourage anyone offered the flu vaccine to take it up - flu can be a really serious illness for some people and the vaccine will protect you from it.”
The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu. This makes it even more important that people have the new vaccine every year.
Felicity added: “Even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to remain protected. The jab doesn't contain the 'live' virus so it cannot give you the flu.
“We hope that GP practices will identify and vaccinate everyone at risk who should be having the vaccine but if you feel you should be offered it then discuss it with your surgery. Carers are also entitled to have the vaccine to protect the person they are looking after and they may not be known to GP surgeries.
“Flu doesn't just affect older people - children with severe asthma for example are just as vulnerable as are pregnant women and their unborn babies.”
Frontline health and social care staff across the county are also being encouraged to protect themselves and those around them.
Nearly two thirds of all flu-related deaths occur among the vulnerable groups, which is why they are offered the vaccine.