Autumn is here and the nights are drawing in, so it’s really important we take the time to look after ourselves, and one of the best things we can do is get the flu jab.
South West Lincolnshire CCG is reminding patients over the age of 65 to protect themselves against flu this winter with a free vaccination. It is the best possible protection against the flu virus during the autumn and winter months when you’re more likely to suffer complications if you contract flu. Even if you’ve had the vaccination before it’s important to get it again because the type of virus in circulation changes every year and so the vaccine changes too.
In a typical winter over 9,000 people nationwide are admitted to hospital with confirmed cases of flu and ten per cent of all patients admitted died as a result of the flu virus.
Dr Dave Baker, GP and Acting Chair, South West Lincolnshire CCG, said, “Flu is a really unpleasant illness, particularly for those over 65, and you are more likely to become seriously ill and have complications like pneumonia or make an existing condition worse if you catch it. This may result in an unwanted hospital stay and can even be fatal.
“Flu tends to circulate between September and March. The flu vaccine is available from September, so I would urge anyone who is offered a free flu vaccination to visit their GP or pharmacy now. Contrary to popular myth it can’t give you flu because it has no live vaccine. It’s quick, safe and free if you’re over 65.”
You are eligible for the flu vaccine this year (2017-18) if you are aged 65 and over on March 31 2018 – that is, you were born on or before March 31 1953. So, if you are currently 64 but will be 65 on March 31 2018, you do qualify.
In addition, people under the age of 65 who have chronic heart, respiratory, liver or kidney disease should also consider having a flu jab.
Look out for a letter, phone call or text message from your GP telling you about the dates and times of their flu clinics. If you care for someone over 65 it’s advisable to get vaccinated too, so that you can protect yourself and the person you care for. Make an appointment today - it’s free because you need it.