Get your winter flu jab soon warns health chief

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PEOPLE at risk of flu are being urged to get their jabs now, before the winter sets in.

That’s the message from Doncaster’s public health chief as the NHS starts preparing for an increase in cases.

Dr Tony Baxter said: “Seasonal flu happens every year, usually in the winter, and a vaccine is available for people who are most at risk of developing health complications if they get it. The vaccination also helps prevent the spread of flu among ‘at risk’ groups.”

Those who are most at risk are people aged 65 and over; pregnant women; and people who have long-term health issues, including diabetes, heart and chest problems like asthma, bronchitis or emphysema, kidney disease, liver disease or a problem with their spleen, a neurological condition such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone or cerebral palsy, a low immune system due to disease such as cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease, and patients who have previously had a stroke.

Patients should also have the vaccine if they live in a residential or nursing home or are a main carer.

Children with any of the conditions listed above, or who have previously been admitted to hospital with chest or breathing problems, should also have the vaccine.

Dr Baxter said: “If you are in one of the at risk groups and have not yet had a vaccine you should contact your doctor’s surgery.

“Some people are more at risk from flu and need the vaccine because they are not able to fight off flu as easily as others.

“Flu can often result in serious complications, hospital treatments or more devastating consequences which can be prevented by having the vaccine.

“The vaccine works by tricking the immune system into thinking it has been infected with the flu virus so it creates antibodies against it.

“Flu is far more serious than a cold. Symptoms can hit suddenly and severely and usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles.

“The vaccine is available free of charge to anyone in one of the at risk groups from your family doctor.”

He added: “Please do not be complacent or wait until there is a flu outbreak.”