SILHILLIANS are being encouraged by NHS and council chiefs to have their flu jab before winter arrives.
A free NHS flu vaccine is available every year to those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu.
Flu can be serious and is very different to the common cold and can even be life threatening for people who are in an at-risk group.
Adults aged 65 years and over can receive a free flu vaccination as they are more vulnerable and may suffer more than most people if they catch flu.
Free NHS vaccines are also available for:
* Anyone from six months to 65 years with medical conditions including heart problems, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, liver or kidney disease
* Those living in a residential or nursing home
* Those in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or who are the main carer of an older or disabled person
* All pregnant women
* Those who live with someone who has a weakened immune system
* Social care workers in hospices and registered residential care, nursing homes and homecare organisations
* Anyone in these groups is urged to visit their GP, local pharmacy or talk to their midwife about having their free flu vaccination.
Children should also be vaccinated as flu can be particularly nasty for little children.
They can also act as ‘super-spreaders’ of flu and vaccinating them can protect more vulnerable members of the community.
For children the vaccine is a quick and painless nasal spray.
This year, all primary school children will be offered the vaccine in school for the first time as the children’s programme has been expanded to include 10 and 11 year olds in school year six.
It is important that parents sign and return the consent form allowing them to have the flu vaccine at school.
Children aged two and three (on August 31, 2019) can receive the vaccine at their GP practice.
Frontline health and social care workers should also be offered the flu vaccination by their employer.
Solihull Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, Councillor Karen Grinsell, said: “A bad bout of flu is much worse than a heavy cold.
“If you get complications, you could become seriously ill and end up in hospital.
“This is why we’re urging people who are eligible for a free flu jab to book an appointment with their GP or pharmacy as soon as possible and stay well this winter.”
Dr John Davenport, a local GP and GP Locality Lead for Solihull at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “Anyone in an at-risk group is urged to visit their GP, local pharmacy or talk to their midwife about having their free flu vaccination.
“It is important that we protect ourselves, and others, against the flu virus.
“The best time to get your flu jab is between the beginning of October and the end of November, but the flu vaccine will still be available after this.”
More information and advice about flu is available on the NHS website.