Getting your flu jab every year gives protection against seasonal flu. This is the particular type of flu virus that arrives in the UK each autumn. The actual type varies from year to year and a new vaccination must be developed every year. As we move towards the winter months it is important to be aware of the risks of catching the flu, particularly if you are in one of the groups most at risk.
Who Should get the Flu Vaccine?
The Department of Health has advised that you should be immunised against the seasonal flu virus each year if you:
- Are aged 65 years or over.
- Have any ongoing (chronic) lung diseases (e.g. chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis and severe asthma needing regular steroid inhalers or tablets). It is also recommended for any child who has previously been admitted to hospital with a chest infection.
- Have a chronic heart disease.
Examples include angina, heart failure or if you have ever had a heart attack.
- Have a serious kidney disease.
Examples include nephrotic syndrome, chronic kidney disease, a kidney transplant.
- Have a serious liver disease such as cirrhosis.
- Have diabetes.
- Have a poor immune system.
Examples include if you are receiving chemotherapy or steroid treatment (for more than a month), if you have HIV/AIDS or if you have had your spleen removed.
- Have certain serious diseases of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis or have had a stroke in the past.
- Live in a nursing home or other long-stay residential care accommodation.
In addition to these groups identified most at risk, other groups at risk include:
- You should be immunised if you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare m
ay be at risk if you fall ill with flu.
- Staff involved in direct patient care (including nursing and care homes) may be offered a flu jab by their employer.
- Pregnant women. Even if you are otherwise healthy it is now recommended that all pregnant women receive the flu jab. Pregnant women are at increased risk of developing more severe illness. They are also more likely than non-pregnant women to be admitted to hospital.
- Children – immunising your child will protect them but also cut the risk of them passing on the infection to other vulnerable members of the family. Children are offered immunisation through a nasal spray rather than an injection.
There are also groups who should NOT be given the vaccine, these include:
- Those who have a severe allergy to eggs
- Those who have had a previous allergic reaction to a flu virus immunisation
- Children who do not have a good working immune system should not be given the live flu vaccine, however, they can still be given the inactivated vaccine
The flu jab usually causes no problems or side effects. You may have a temporary mild soreness at the injection site and sometimes it can cause a mild raised temperature and slight muscle ache for a few days. This
will soon settle and should not lead to any further problems. Serious reactions are very rare.
Children given the nasal spray will be given a live but weakened form of the virus which will not cause flu in a healthy child/
Getting your flu jab
You can get your flu jab here at Kalmed Clinic. Visit our website to use the online booking facility or call us on 01786 406410 to book your appointment.