Over 65 years old? Make sure you get your free flu vaccine
Health organisations across Shropshire are reminding those over 65 years of age to stay well this winter by protecting themselves against flu.
Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications, particularly for those who are over 65 years of age. It is vital that those eligible have it every year as the vaccine protects against different strains of flu which can change and/or evolve each year.
This year a more effective ‘adjuvanted’ vaccine is being given to those aged 65 and over, which is proven to give better protection against flu for older people.
Flu when you’re older can be far more serious and can cause further complications, especially if you have an underlying health condition, such as heart, kidney or lung disease or diabetes for example. Flu on top of health conditions like these increases your chance of serious health complications and could mean you having to go to hospital.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, health and social housing, said:-
“Catching flu is a miserable experience for everyone, but for many older people it can be incredibly debilitating and can increase their risk of developing a more serious illness, especially if they have an existing condition.
“If you are over 65 or know someone who is, whether an elderly relative or friend, please do take up your offer of the free flu vaccine. It’s free because you need it.”
Dr Emma Pearce, Shropshire Council’s public health speciality registrar, added;
“Being older brings many extra challenges should you catch flu; you are more likely to catch flu than younger adults, the risk of complications and being admitted to hospital is higher, and the length of time needed to recover is longer. By getting this year’s flu vaccine, a quick and simple injection which is tailored specifically to the over 65s, you can greatly reduce your risk of catching flu and spending many weeks or months recovering.”
Aside from having your flu vaccine, the best way to prevent the spread of flu is to practice good hand hygiene. Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw the tissue away and wash your hands. If you think you have flu, stay home and rest until you feel better. Call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition or feel really unwell.
Dr Julian Povey, Chair of NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of NHS Telford & Wrekin 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 year, a new vaccine is being offered to those aged 65 and over which has been shown to be more effective with older people and aims to give better protection which could reduce GP flu related consultations, hospital stays and prevent deaths in the worst cases.
“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.”
The flu jab is the safest way to help protect you no matter how fit and healthy you may feel. Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. It’s free because you need it.
For more information about the flu vaccination visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine.