Long-term health condition? Protect yourself from flu and stay well this winter
Health and social care teams across Shropshire are reminding those with underlying health conditions to stay well this winter by getting their free flu vaccine.
People with certain serious health conditions are more at risk during the cold weather and flu can worsen their health problems. Those eligible include people with the following conditions:
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including COPD, bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
- kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
- liver disease
- stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- a neurological condition eg multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy or learning disability
- a problem with spleen eg sickle cell disease, or you have had spleen removed
Flu on top of health conditions like these can easily develop into something very serious and could cause serious complications such as pneumonia. The quick and simple flu vaccination will help reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death amongst those most at risk.
This year people aged 18-64 with underlying health conditions are being offered the ‘quadrivalent’ vaccine, which offers protection against four strains of flu.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, health and social housing, said:
“If you or someone you know has an underlying health condition, it’s vital that you get your free flu vaccine as soon as possible, even if you’re feeling fit and healthy. Please don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. It’s free because you need it.”
Dr Emma Pearce, Shropshire Council’s public health speciality registrar, added:
“Catching flu when you already suffer from a long-term condition, even something well-controlled, can seriously endanger your health. Having the flu vaccine will reduce the risk of you catching flu, reduce the risk of any complications that may follow on from this and ensure that you can remain well throughout the winter months.”
Dr Julian Povey, Chair of NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of NHS Telford & Wrekin CCG, said:
“If you have a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, a neurological disease or chronic liver, kidney or lung disease then protecting yourself against flu is vital. Getting flu when you already have a health condition can lead to serious complications.
“Unlike other medication for long-term health conditions, the flu jab is an annual one-off vaccine. The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu so, even if you had a jab last winter, you need another one this year to stay flu safe.
“Our advice is to get your jab now to protect yourself, your friends and your family.”
For more information about the flu vaccination visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine.