DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill
Autumn is here and the nights are drawing in, so it’s really important we take the time to look after ourselves, and one of the best things we can do is get the flu jab.
NHS South Lincolnshire CCG is reminding patients over the age of 65 to protect themselves against flu this winter with a free vaccination.
It is the best possible protection against the flu virus during the autumn and winter months when you’re more likely to suffer complications if you contract flu. Even if you’ve had the vaccination before it’s important to get it again because the type of virus in circulation changes every year and so the vaccine changes, too.
In winter 2013/14, over 9,000 people nationwide were admitted to hospital with confirmed cases of flu and 10 per cent of all patients admitted died as a result of the flu virus.
Dr Kevin Hill GP Chair of NHS South Lincolnshire CCG said: “Flu is a really unpleasant illness, particularly for those over 65. You are more likely to become seriously ill and have complications like pneumonia or make an existing condition worse if you catch it. This may result in an unwanted hospital stay and can even be fatal.
“Flu tends to circulate between September and March. The flu vaccine is available from October, so I would urge anyone who is offered a free flu vaccination to visit their GP or pharmacy now. It’s quick, safe and free if you’re over 65.
“Contrary to popular myth it can’t give you flu because it has no live vaccine.”
Look out for a letter from your GP telling you about the dates and times of their flu clinics. For the first time this year some pharmacies are offering the flu jab, too. You will have to check with your local pharmacy but it’s another way of getting yourself protected.
If you care for someone over 65 it’s advisable to get vaccinated too, so that you can protect yourself and the person you care for. Make an appointment today – it’s free because you need it.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell