A TOP doctor has urged patients to do their bit to reduce pressures on stretched health services by getting vaccinated for flu.
Dr Pervez Muzaffar, GP prescribing lead for Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said he expected the flu season to be more ‘serious’ in the UK this winter with a greater number of cases.
His warning comes after the worst outbreak of flu in many years in New Zealand and Australia during their winter, which saw Australia report 98,000 confirmed cases of the condition, more than double the rate of teh year before.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has urged hospitals to be prepared for a ‘pressurised’ flu season this winter amid the ‘heavy flu outbreak’ in the southern hemisphere.
The warnings have prompted Dr Muzaffar to warn vulnerable residents to get vaccinated for flu to protect themselves and their families and reduce pressure on health services.
“I would encourage all people to take up free flu jabs. In particular, the 65+ group and children in pre-school, aged two to eight are most at risk and vulnerable. My warning follows the recent onset of serious flu and the epidemic in Australia and New Zealand. I expect it to be more serious here this winter with more cases as a result of this.”
Dr Muzaffar said that flu is a ‘highly contagious infection’ that anyone can catch and it can be a ‘really serious illness’ for some.
“People with flu can get complications such as meningitis and severe ear infections, and it can even lead to deaths at its most serious. Children and the elderly and people with existing conditions such as asthma are more vulnerable to this.
“This is why I’d encourage them to have free flu jabs, and the rest of the population, including carers and the professionals who look after them, so we can protect people.
“So we can all do our bit to protect people and reduce pressure on primary care services and hospitals and emergency care this winter.”
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