With flu season fast approaching, Birmingham health chiefs are urging people at risk across the city to think ahead and book their flu jabs now.
Flu is a highly contagious infection and, while healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.
Those at greater risk from flu include:
- pregnant women
- older people
- the very young
- those with underlying disease, particularly chronic respiratory or cardiac disease
- those with lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Paulette Hamilton, said: “The simple message for anyone at risk in Birmingham is get your flu jab now. It could be a lifesaver.
“It’s a mistake to think of flu as ‘just a bad cold’. It can be a really serious illness for some people and can knock you off your feet. In the most severe cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital and can even be a killer.
“Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse.”
Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, added: “The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from September to early November, so it’s good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
“I would particularly advise mums-to-be to get the jab. There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. Some women are reluctant but studies have shown that the flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. ”
To book your flu jab, simply contact your GP or a participating pharmacy to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab.
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Fluandthefluvaccine.aspx