September / October seen a marked rise in the number of coughs, colds, bugs and sniffles. This is to be expected- we’ve been in lockdown for the past 18 months and suddenly we’re mixing again.
But with the winter on its way, we could see a sharp increase in the cases of the flu virus and are more likely to experience severe symptoms.
With the NHS already under considerable strain, it’s more important than ever that we all get vaccinated against the flu.
Book your flu vaccination at your local branch of Whitworth today.
What is the flu?
The flu (influenza virus) is a very contagious seasonal illness that affects the respiratory system and returns every winter. Circulating between October and March, it usually peaks in December or January, although cases can continue well into the spring.
Although we often think of the flu as being debilitating yet relatively harmless, it kills around 11,000 people on average every winter in England.
Symptoms of the flu can include:
A sudden high temperature of 38°C or above
Loss of appetite
Feeling sick and being sick
Feeling very tired
Symptoms usually appear very suddenly and you’ll often feel very sick very quickly.
They are often symptoms similar to the coronavirus (COVID-19), therefore you should follow current UK government guidelines regarding testing and self-isolation if you suspect you could be suffering from the illness.
Why do I need a flu vaccine?
Like the coronavirus, the flu virus continuously changes through a process called ‘antigenic drift’. This means the surface of the virus changes and our immune systems are less able to fight it.
Therefore, even if you had a flu vaccination last year, you should be vaccinated again so you are protected for this winter’s flu season.
This helps reduce your chances of catching the flu and helps save the NHS money, especially as a double infection with COVID-19 and the flu could have serious health consequences.
It’s even more important that vulnerable groups such as those with pre-existing health problems, the elderly, the young and pregnant women get their flu vaccine as they are more likely to suffer from serious side effects.
Who can get the flu vaccine?
Anyone can get the flu vaccine. Certain people can get it for free on the NHS or you can pay just £12 to have it privately.
According to the UK government, you can get the vaccine on the NHS for winter 2021-2022 if you are:
Aged 50 years old and over (including those aged 50 by 31 March 2022)
Have certain long term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, a weakened immune system, heart or kidney problems and neurological diseases.
Live with someone who is immunocompromised
Receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer of an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
Are a child aged between 2-3 on 31st August 2021 or a school-aged child.
Visit the NHS website to check whether you are eligible.
Protect yourself and your family from serious illness or death by getting your flu vaccine this year. If you’d like to book your vaccine, please contact your local branch of Whitworth for more help.