At risk groups urged to ask about flu jab now

By on 06/09/2013 in Cllr Bedser, News

With flu season fast approaching, people at risk in Birmingham have been urged to think ahead and book their flu jabs now.

Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some.

Those at greater risk from flu include:

  • people aged 65 or over
  • pregnant women
  • those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.

GPs across the city are currently contacting those most at risk, offering appointments for free flu vaccinations and this year, for the first time, a free nasal vaccination will also be offered to parents of healthy two and three-year-olds so that their children can be protected from the flu.

Flu jabCabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, said: “Flu is not like a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people.

“Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the children or go to work. In the most severe cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital – it can even be a killer. So the simple message for anyone at risk in Birmingham is get your flu jab now.

“If you’re in any of the ‘at risk’ groups, the flu jab is completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes.”

Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, added: “Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse.

“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.

“Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.”

There are a number of myths surrounding the flu jab but the facts are:

  • The flu jab can’t give you flu
  • The flu jab is perfectly safe
  • The flu virus changes, so you need a flu jab every year If you’re pregnant, the flu jab doesn’t harm your unborn baby. In fact it can protect your baby from flu for the first few months of life
  • The flu jab also protects against swine flu
  • The flu jab isn’t just for older people – pregnant women, those with health conditions, carers, and those with weakened immunity should all get the jab
  • The flu jab protects people of all ages
  • Flu isn’t just a cold, it can be a really serious illness

ENDS

For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

Notes to editors

Summary of those who are recommended to have the flu vaccine:

  • everyone aged 65 and over
  • all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
  • all two- and three-year-old children
  • everyone living in a residential or nursing home
  • everyone who cares for an older or disabled person
  • household contacts of anyone who is immunocompromised
  • all frontline health and social care workers

Even if you feel healthy, you should have the free flu vaccination if you are:

  • pregnant

or have:

  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including
  • bronchitis or emphysema
  • a kidney disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
  • liver disease
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • diabetes
  • a neurological condition, for example multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
  • a problem with your spleen, for example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed.

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