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Now's the time for your flu vaccine


Don't put off having a flu vaccination – it's free because you need it.

Flu is a highly infectious disease that occurs every winter and can sometimes lead to serious illness.  It can affect anyone, but certain conditions can make it worse, even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. 

Over 65s, long term conditions and carers

You should have the free flu vaccine if you have one of the following long term conditions: a heart problem; breathing difficulties, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, a neurological disease, have a problem with your spleen, are seriously overweight or have suffered a stroke.

Adults over the age of 65 are also eligible for a free vaccine, as are paid and unpaid carers. Frontline health and social care workers are also offered the vaccine.

The flu vaccine is provided free by the NHS, so if you are in one of these groups, arrange to see your GP or practice nurse or visit your local pharmacist this autumn. It is strongly recommended that you have the flu vaccine each year.

Adults who are not eligible for a free vaccination can have the vaccination privately from a pharmacist to help them ward off common winter illnesses.

Children

Children aged 2 and 3, as well as school children from Reception class through to Year 4 are included in the group eligible for the free flu vaccine this year. For children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray. Flu can be horrible for little children, and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family. Children who get the flu have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. 

Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment. The flu vaccine can help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others. If you have a child aged 2 or 3, get them vaccinated against flu with the free nasal spray flu vaccine from your GP. School children will get their vaccinations through their school.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women are also eligible for a free flu vaccination. Pregnancy naturally weakens the body's immune system and as flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby, pregnant women who get the flu may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming ill. The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu and you can have it at any stage of pregnancy, however fit and healthy you might feel.

If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now – it's free because you need it. Contact your GP or visit your local pharmacy to get the flu jab. Visit NHS Stay Well for more information.