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Featured Wednesday, Oct 24 2018

NHS staff in East Berkshire support on-going flu campaign

These are just some of the faces of NHS staff at the King Edward Hospital in Windsor who have had their flu jabs as part of an on-going campaign to help stay well this winter.

As healthcare workers and employees of the NHS, it is important that staff are vaccinated not only to protect themselves but also those who they may come into contact with.

Jo Greengrass, Associate Director of Nursing and Quality for East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “It is our strong belief that even if you do not work in a patient-facing role, all NHS staff can play a pivotal part in protecting their communities over winter by having their flu vaccination as well as having good hand hygiene.
“If we are ill as a result of flu, we are not able to play our part.

She added: “If enough people in a community are vaccinated, it is harder for the flu to pass between those who have not been vaccinated.”

Flu occurs every year and is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Having your flu vaccination can help protect you and others.

Some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. For them, it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst case, flu can result in a hospital stay or even death.

The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts which is usually around December time.

The flu vaccination is available free on the NHS for various groups and individuals that could be particularly vulnerable to complications.

This year, the following are eligible for the free flu vaccination:
 All children aged two to nine (but not ten years or older) on 31 August 2018
 Pregnant women
 Aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2019)
 Those in long-stay residential care homes
 Carers
 Healthcare workers
 People with learning disabilities and their carers
 Those aged six months to under 65 years of age with a serious medical condition which include chronic (long term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis; chronic heart disease, such as heart failure; chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five; chronic liver disease; chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, or learning disability; diabetes; splenic dysfunction; weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment); morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)

If you do not fall within any of the above groups, you can still have the vaccination by paying for it at your local pharmacist.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, extreme tiredness and aches and pains in the joints and muscles. Healthy individuals usually recover within a week, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death. If you do get the flu make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily. Taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce any fever or discomfort, can also help.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses and not bacteria. Therefore, antibiotics will not help to treat it. However, if there are complications from getting flu, antibiotics may be needed.

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