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Featured Friday, Dec 7 2018

There is still time for you to receive your free flu vaccination’, says local GP

A local GP is urging local people not to miss out on having their flu vaccination, especially if they are eligible to have it free on the NHS.

Dr Nuzhet A-Ali, a GP at South Meadow surgery in Eton, says there is still time for people to have their vaccination, particularly those vulnerable to complications of flu. This includes:

  • Children aged two to three
  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2019)
  • 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)

She said: “Although thousands of people have already had their flu vaccination on the NHS over the past few weeks and months, there are still people in East Berkshire who have not.

“In particular, I’m reaching out to people who may be more susceptible to the effects of flu such as children; pregnant women; people aged 65 or over; and those with serious medical conditions. For them, flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse.

“By having your flu vaccination, you can help protect yourself and others this winter.”

This year, children under the age of ten in Reception and years 1,2,3,4 and 5 have been offered the free flu vaccination in the form of nasal spray in schools.

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.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread the flu virus in tiny droplets of saliva over a wide area. These droplets can then be breathed in by other people or they can be picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed. You can prevent the spread of the virus by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands frequently or using hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus.

The strain of flu can change each year so even if you were vaccinated last year, you are being advised to vaccinate again this year.

Note to editors: Media interviews are available on request. Please call Anamika Bansal on 01753 636 836 to arrange.