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NHS City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group
Protect yourself against flu this winter
17 October 2018

With winter fast approaching, residents at additional risk from seasonal flu are being encouraged to have their free flu jab.

Flu, or influenza, is an infectious disease with symptoms including fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. And because flu is a virus, and not a bacteria, antibiotics won’t treat it.

Flu can be passed on when a person with the flu coughs or sneezes which spreads the virus - this is then breathed in by other people or picked up by touching surfaces.

You can help prevent the spread of flu by covering your nose when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently or use hand gels, and bin any used tissues as soon as possible.

Flu can affect anyone but it can be much worse for older people, children and those who have a long-term health condition.

The best protection available against the flu is to have a seasonal flu jab before the flu starts circulating.

People most at risk from flu are eligible for a free flu jab and include:

  • everyone aged 65 and over (this is a new and improved vaccine)
  • everyone under 65 years who has a long term health condition such as a heart problem, kidney or liver disease, lower immunity or diabetes.
  • children and babies over six months of age with a long term health condition
  • all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
  • all two and three year old children
  • all children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • everyone living in a residential or nursing home
  • everyone who cares for an older or disabled person
  • people living with someone who has a low immune system
  • all frontline health and social care workers.

If you belong to one of the groups mentioned above, it is important that you have the flu vaccination this season even if you were vaccinated last year. The flu virus changes so the vaccine is different from year to year.

Speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist to book a vaccination appointment to get the best possible protection. For pregnant women, the vaccine may also be available through maternity services and for frontline health and social care workers, arrangements can be made through their employer.

For more information, visit: www.nhs.uk/flujab

To search for pharmacies providing the flu service in London, visit: www.londonflu.co.uk