The mild weather doesn’t mean the flu isn’t still around, so Croydon’s health services are warning the most vulnerable people to get protected.
In particular, local GPs and pharmacies are inviting pregnant women, the elderly, and people with long term health conditions, to take up their free flu jabs. Carers and frontline health and social care staff are also being encouraged to get a free jab to protect both themselves and those around them.
This winter the Government has further extended its free flu vaccination programme so that children aged 2, 3 and 4 and in years one and two of primary school are now eligible to receive a quick, effective and painless nasal spray vaccine.
The aim is to prevent the hundreds of thousands of emergency visits to GPs and tens of thousands of hospital stays that result from people contracting flu.
Flu is caused by different strains of influenza viruses, which can be passed through coughing or sneezing, or by touching infected surfaces or people. It is highly contagious and spreads rapidly, with those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes at greater risk of catching the disease.
Symptoms can be very unpleasant, sometimes lasting for several weeks and potentially resulting in serious complications for those most at risk.
Anyone who is unsure as to whether they can have a free flu vaccination can get advice from their local GP or pharmacist.
“Flu can be a really serious and unpleasant illness for many sufferers, but for the most vulnerable in our borough it is extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening. We want to ensure as far as possible that our residents are looking after their health to prevent any problems from worsening.
“The best first step to curbing the spread of infection among family, friends and work colleagues is for anyone who’s eligible to take advantage of their free flu vaccination.”
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a local GP and Assistant Clinical Chair of NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We urge residents to seek advice about the flu jab from their GP or local pharmacist before they start to feel unwell. Flu symptoms include a high temperature, fatigue, feeling weak, headaches and other aches and pains. For most people, flu is unpleasant, but for some it can be very serious or even fatal.
“The free flu jab and nasal spray are available to those who need it most. We advise as many people as possible in the eligible groups to have it because it can save lives.”
More tips and advice to help people to stay well and look their health during the cold weather can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/staywell