HEALTH MATTERS: By Jenny Hinchliffe, Head of Clinical Services for the South at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust
With the dark nights drawing in and the colder weather upon us, it’s time for us all to start thinking about how we can ensure we keep well this winter.
It can cause serious complications for the at-risk groups, including the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease
In particular, this is the time to make your appointment to have your flu vaccination, especially if you are in one of the most at-risk groups.
Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus.
It can cause serious complications for the at-risk groups, including the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease. Children aged two, three and four are also at risk and you may be entitled to a free vaccination if you are a carer.
The symptoms of flu can be very unpleasant and last for several days. It can lead to more serious complications like middle ear infections in children, pneumonia and bronchitis for some people, which will mean a hospital stay.
At Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust we’re asking our staff to play their part in protecting the vulnerable against flu by also having their own vaccination.
This includes those you might meet in the departments or wards at the Johnson Community Hospital and community teams and specialist nurses and therapists who either see you in a clinic or visit you at home.
By having the flu vaccination, we know that we can not only ensure we are all well enough to continue to deliver care in your community but also help to prevent spreading the virus.
Our school nursing teams will also be providing a vital role in supporting the campaign by providing nasal vaccinations to school children in years one and two.
Children and staff in special schools are being offered the vaccine as part of a national programme. Letters and consent forms will be circulated to parents through school. Vaccinations are scheduled to take place between mid-October and mid-December.
If you would like to have your flu vaccine, they will be available now until March 2016 from your local GP or a pharmacy near you.
For more information, you can also visit www.nhs.uk/flu