Snow joke over chilling warning to get a flu jab - VIDEO

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A SOUTH Yorkshire street was given a realistic white-out - with a chilling message to back life-saving flu jabs.

Health chiefs brought in a snow machine to remind people that freezing temperatures can also kill.

Snow joke: Anita Dobson with a chilling message to get a flu jab.

Snow joke: Anita Dobson with a chilling message to get a flu jab.

VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report.

Last year’s extreme winter killed 515 older people in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster. Flu claimed 602 lives nationwide, with more than 70 per cent of the deaths among 15 to 64-year-olds, according to the Health Protection Agency.

The Star is campaigning to help save the lives of hundreds of elderly people by backing the Surviving Winter Appeal, urging those who don’t rely on their winter fuel allowance - usually around £200 per household, including anyone aged over-60 - to donate it to those more vulnerable, or less fortunate.

The NHS flu jabs campaign meanwhile, which runs to the end of November, was promoted with a covering of fake snow in Cheapside, Barnsley. There were also stalls offering top tips and advice on keeping well this winter.

Those most at risk and eligible for a free flu jab from their GP are those aged over six months with a long-term condition such as diabetes or asthma, plus anyone over-65 and all pregnant women.

Anita Dobson, an NHS Barnsley public health specialist nurse, said: “The snow machine was really popular. It made people stop and ask about what we were doing.

“One of the main things to do is to get a flu vaccination. It can prevent a very serious illness that can have dire consequences, with people hospitalised, and in some cases flu can be fatal.”

Andrea Firth, aged 39, from Royston, has been giving her asthmatic daughter, Bethany, 11, the seasonal flu vaccine since the age of six - having been advised to do so after she contracted a serious chest infection which left her in hospital.

“Last December she was hospitalised again and without the jab she’d have ended up in a much worse condition,’’ said Andrea.

“It gives me peace of mind to know that having my daughter vaccinated gives her the best form of protection.”

* ARE you planning to donate your winter fuel allowance? Did a relative suffer in the cold last winter? Email ben.spencer@thestar.co.uk or call 0114 276 7676 x 3103