As win­ter beck­ons, doc­tors on the Fylde coast are urg­ing local peo­ple who are at risk of flu to book their appoint­ments for a flu jab.

For most healthy peo­ple, flu is an unpleas­ant ill­ness that usu­ally lasts a week or so. How­ever, cer­tain peo­ple are more at risk from flu and for some it can lead to very seri­ous com­pli­ca­tions, even if they have been well before­hand. Those at risk are:

  • Over 65’s
  • Preg­nant women
  • At risk groups, which cover those with a long term con­di­tion (e.g. dia­betes), those with a weak­ened immune sys­tem (e.g. can­cer patients), heart dis­ease, chronic res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease, kid­ney dis­ease, liver dis­ease, chronic neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases such as Parkinson’s and peo­ple in long stay res­i­den­tial homes
  • Health and social care workers
  • Car­ers
  • Two and three year olds

Chil­dren aged two and three will be offered a nasal spray vac­cine to pro­tect them against flu. Young children’s close con­tact with each other means they are more likely to trans­mit the virus to other more vul­ner­a­ble groups.

The vac­cine will include pro­tec­tion against:

  • H1N1 – the strain of flu that caused the swine flu pan­demic in 2009
  • H3N2 – a strain of flu that can infect birds and mam­mals and was active in 2011
  • B/Massachusetts/2 – a strain of flu that was active in 2012
This year, you won’t receive a let­ter invit­ing you for a flu vac­ci­na­tion, so it is impor­tant that you make an appoint­ment with your GP.

Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, Chief Clin­i­cal Offi­cer for NHS Black­pool Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group, said: “Flu is not just a com­mon cold. It has the poten­tial to be a seri­ous ill­ness for cer­tain vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. Although flu is extremely com­mon and affects thou­sands of us each year, it can have con­se­quences for some peo­ple, such as pneu­mo­nia and bron­chi­tis, which could require hos­pi­tal treatment.

If you are in any of the ‘at risk’ groups then you are enti­tled to a free flu jab. The flu vac­cine changes every year to fight the lat­est strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last win­ter you need another one this year to stay safe.”

Dr Tony Naughton, a local GP and Clin­i­cal Chief Offi­cer of NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, added: “It’s really impor­tant that those peo­ple in the at-risk groups don’t put off get­ting the flu vac­cine. We under­stand that it can be hard to find time, but a quick appoint­ment to have your jab will pro­tect you, your fam­ily, col­leagues and friends. With not receiv­ing a let­ter this year, it’s vital that you plan for the win­ter and make the arrange­ments now.”

This year, GP prac­tices will not be send­ing out let­ters invit­ing you for a flu vac­ci­na­tion, so it is impor­tant that you make an appoint­ment with your GP.

ENDS

 For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please con­tact the media team at NHS Mid­lands and Lan­cashire CSU on 01772 214213.