At-risk groups urged to have flu jabs

THOSE at risk from potentially deadly flu are being urged to protect themselves with free jabs.

Carers, people over 65s and those with long-term health conditions are all being encouraged by NHS Rotherham to arrange to have a free flu jab as soon as possible by getting in touch with their family doctor or local pharmacy.

The jab is being offered to all pregnant women as well as everyone aged over 65 and younger people with long-term conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, multiple sclerosis, serious kidney, neurological and liver disease. 

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People acting as the main carer of an older or disabled person may also be eligible.

This year the seasonal flu vaccination protects against the three main flu strains that are expected to circulate in the coming winter and NHS Rotherham is out to protect as many people as possible as early as possible before the flu virus really starts circulating in November

Dr John Radford, director of public health at NHS Rotherham, said: “Flu is much more serious than a cold and anyone who has had flu will tell you, it’s not very pleasant.

“It gives you fevers, chills, extreme tiredness and aching muscles, as well as the more general cold-like symptoms of a sore throat and runny nose, and tends to last for up to two weeks. 

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“While flu is a nasty experience for all of us, for those at risk it can lead to more serious illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia or even meningitis, complications which often require hospital treatment.”

Dr Radford said that the best way to avoid flu was to get immunised, but people could also protect themselves by maintaining good hygiene,  following the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ principle.