As the winter months approach, people who are most at risk of developing serious complications from flu are being urged to take advantage of the free flu jab.
Flu is a highly infectious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of infected people. For most of us, it is inconvenient – but for some, it’s much more serious and can even be life threatening and fatal. It’s because of this that you should be a flu fighter and protect yourself.
The flu jab is the injection of a vaccine against infection. It gives approximately 70-80% protection against infection from flu and is offered to people in at-risk groups, who are at greater risk of developing serious complications from the virus. To stay protected, they need to have it every year as the virus changes and the vaccine needs to match the latest version of the virus.
It is recommended you have a flu jab if you:
- are 65 or over
- have a serious chronic medical condition - asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, neurological disease and diabetes
- have a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
- live in a residential or nursing home
- are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- are a healthcare or social care professional directly involved in patient care
- work with poultry
Also, this winter (2010-11), the seasonal flu vaccine will be offered to pregnant women not in the high-risk groups who have not previously been vaccinated against swine (H1N1) flu.
The flu vaccine doesn’t contain any live virus, so it can’t cause flu.
Anyone in the above groups should contact their local GP surgery as soon as possible to protect themselves from the virus in the months to come.
For more information, go to www.attishoo.com.
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