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Health professionals in Wiltshire and Swindon are encouraging people to get the flu vaccine before winter sets in.
Flu is highly contagious, can lead to serious complications for those in high-risk groups and, in extreme cases, can prove fatal. It is strongly recommended that everyone gets the flu vaccination especially those in high risk groups including:
- All two, three and four years olds. This year those in School Years 1, 2 and 3 are all eligible for a free Flu Vaccination on the NHS. The child-friendly nasal spray means children can avoid having an injection and instead have a quick, painless squirt in to each nostrill.
- Pregnant women.
- Adults aged 65 years and older.
- Anyone with a long-term health condition.
- Those in long-stay residential care homes.
Some basic facts about flu:
- For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease with recovery generally within a week. However, older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with underlying disease are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu.
- Every year, hundreds of thousands of people may see their GP and tens of thousands may be hospitalised because of flu.
- Symptoms of flu can be very unpleasant and can last for several days - flu can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia and bronchitis which need hospital treatment.
- Around 760 people were admitted to intensive care with complications of flu last year.
- The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu jab.
- For the first time this year, young children aged two and three will be offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect them against flu. Young children's close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to other more vulnerable groups - including infants and older people.
- Those who have long term conditions are among the most at risk from flu - if you're in an at risk group you are on average 11 times more likely to die than someone who is not in an at-risk group.
- At risk groups cover those who are over 65 or people with a long term health condition, e.g. diabetes, those with a weakened immune system (e.g. HIV or cancer patients), heart disease, chronic respiratory disease (e.g. severe asthma, COPD, bronchitis), kidney disease, liver disease, chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and people in long stay residential homes.
- People who are most at risk from flu, who have put it off or who don't think it is important, are encouraged to get the vaccine. If you are in a risk group, are pregnant or aged over 65 or over, it is really important to get vaccinated; contact your GP surgery and make an appointment.
More information about flu can be found at the NHS website