Seasonal Flu Vaccination
Flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. It spreads rapidly through small droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. For most people, flu is unpleasant but not serious. You will usually recover within a week.
Studies have shown that flu vaccines provide effective protection against the flu, although protection may not be complete and may vary between people. Protection from the vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains change over time. Therefore, new vaccines are made each year and people at risk of flu are encouraged to be vaccinated every year.
The flu vaccination is offered to people in at-risk groups. These people are at greater risk of developing serious complications if they catch flu, such as pregnant women and elderly people.
Should I get the Flu Vaccination?
For most people, flu is unpleasant but not serious. You will usually recover within a week.
However, certain people are at greater risk of developing serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. These conditions may require hospital treatment.
The flu vaccine is offered free to people who are at risk, to protect them from catching flu and developing serious complications.
It is recommended that you have a flu jab if you fall into one or more of the following categories:
- are 65 years old or over
- are pregnant (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2015)
- all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
- all those aged two, three, and four years old (but not five years or older) on 1 September 2014
- all school-aged children who are part of the pilot childhood programme
- have a serious medical condition (see below)
- are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility (not including prisons, young offender institutions or university halls of residence)
Is this year's vaccine safe?
Although no medical procedure is totally free of risk, flu vaccines are generally very safe. The most common reaction to the jab is a sore arm, or you may feel hot for a day or two after the vaccination.
This year’s flu jabs have been tested and approved for use across the UK and in Europe. The jab cannot give you flu because it doesn't contain any active viruses.
The Department of Health recommends that everyone who is eligible for a flu jab should have it as soon as the vaccine is available.
If you are in an at-risk group and do not have the jab, you will have a greater risk of developing serious complications or even dying if you get flu this winter.
If you haven't had the flu vaccine and you are in a risk group, make an appointment to get vaccinated.
Find out more about the flu vaccine, including how the vaccine is made and how it protects you.
Flu vaccine for children
A annual nasal spray flu vaccine is now offered to all children aged two, three and four years as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.
In certain geographic areas the spray will also be offered to children aged 2-18 with long-term health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. Please contact the surgery for further information if required.
Children aged six months to 2 years with long-term health conditions aren't able to have the nasal spray and will get the injected flu vaccine instead.
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