Local health chiefs at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging all residents who are eligible to get their free flu jab without delay. It is free for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu: people aged 65 and over, children aged 2-8, pregnant women, carers and those with long term health conditions. It’s free because you need it.
Cold weather can be particularly harmful for older people as it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.
Flu can be horrible for little children and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family. For children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray.
Pregnancy naturally lowers the immune system so the flu jab is the safest way to help protect you and your baby against flu. You can have the vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.
Dr Preeti Shukla, GP clinical lead at both Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said:
“Flu on top of an existing long-term health condition can easily develop into something very serious and could land you in hospital. If you have a condition like: COPD; bronchitis; emphysema; diabetes; heart, kidney or liver disease or have suffered a stroke, you should get the flu jab without delay.”
Don’t put off it off. Ask your GP, pharmacist or midwife about the free flu vaccine now. If you are the main carer of an older or disabled person you may also be eligible for the free flu jab.
There are lots of other ways to Stay Well This Winter:
- Get advice from a pharmacist at the first sign of a winter illness, before it gets more serious.
- Pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start, as many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holidays. Also stock up your medicine cabinet with general supplies to help get you and your family through the winter season. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
- Keep warm both inside and outdoors to help prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
- Keep an eye out for elderly relatives and neighbours who might be struggling in the cold weather or icy conditions.
Find out more about keeping yourself and others safe and well this winter at www.nhs.uk/staywell