Tackling flu this winter

20-10-2014

Hull City Council's Public Health Team and NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group GP practices are reminding eligible residents that free flu jabs are available to keep them safe from flu and prevent the spread of the virus.

Those considered to be at greatest risk from flu include people aged 65 or over and those in a long stay residential care home, carers, children aged 2-4 years, pregnant women, and those (including children up to 18 years) with long-term health conditions particularly chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease, or those with a weakened immune system.

Kate Davey, Immunisation Nurse lead at Newland Group Medical Practice, Hull said:

"The vaccine is the best possible protection against the flu virus, particularly for older people, young children, women who are pregnant and people with long term health conditions.

"Our seasonal Flu campaign is well under way and we are very pleased that around 600 people attended our recent flu clinic. We are continuing to actively encourage all patients in our eligible groups to get their jab.

"It is equally important that anyone who is the main carer of an older or disabled person keeps themselves healthy as their welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill. "

Flu vaccinations are available from October. Public Health England advise that people should have their flu vaccination as soon as possible, preferably during October and November.

Julia Weldon, Director of Public Health and Adults, said:

"Flu can be really nasty for people who are at most risk and can be dangerous with some existing illnesses, it may even lead to further health complications. We want to avoid this wherever possible.

"Having the vaccination before the virus starts circulating in the community is the most effective way to prevent flu and reduce the potential harm it can cause. I would urge those who are at most risk to get it now, it's free because it's needed."

Hull is also taking part in a national pilot offering a nasal spray to children aged between 12 and 13 at secondary schools to reduce flu and protect family members.

This is the first year secondary school children aged between 12 and 13 will be offered a free vaccination, given as a nasal spray in each nostril - a quick, effective and painless alternative to an injection.

The pilot will determine the best approach and will help Public Health England understand how they can implement the programme nationally and the most efficiently and effectively without putting pressure on other essential services.

The successful child flu vaccine pilot with primary schools launched in 2013 and is entering its second year. More than 700,000 healthy school-aged children across England will be offered a free flu vaccination for the winter, aiming to reduce flu spreading to other children and protect family members in particular, siblings and grandparents.

Julia Weldon, adds:

"Flu can be very unpleasant for children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults and that's why it is important to protect young children with the nasal spray.

"Another Key benefit of children being immunised is that it will also indirectly improve the protection of older people in their family and in the wider population, because studies have shown that immunising children significantly reduces the spread of the flu virus in the whole community."

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/flu 

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