Croydon’s health chiefs are urging pregnant women, parents of toddlers, older people and those with long-term health conditions to get their flu jab and prevent winter illness.
The council and local NHS services are sharing winter health advice across the borough to help ease pressures on Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments by encouraging residents, particularly those most at risk, to get the flu vaccination, as the virus’ symptoms can be severe and life threatening if contracted.
The flu jab is free for people who need it most as it protects those who have it, their family and friends, and vulnerable people in the community.
Frontline health and social care workers are entitled to a free flu vaccine and can find out how to claim this on the NHS website.
As the weather gets colder, all residents are advised to take preventive action such as ensuring their homes are adequately heated, wearing warm clothing and seeking a quick remedy for symptoms such as coughs, colds and sore throats.
People in need of help and support for health concerns should contact their GP, local pharmacy or by calling NHS 111 in the first instance.
Croydon’s health chiefs are also asking everyone to be community minded and check on frail, elderly people as they are more susceptible to ill-health in the cold, like ensuring they are warm, and have enough medication and food.
Anyone concerned about winter fuel bills can seek advice from the council or a local Citizens Advice.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s director of public health said: “The flu virus is highly contagious, and the more people who are protected means greater numbers are kept safe from infections. Apart from immunisation, I am also encouraging people to curb the spread of germs with good respiratory and hand hygiene by catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing their hands afterwards.”
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Clinical Chair at Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP, said: “Even if you have no symptoms, you can still carry the flu virus, so getting the flu jab is the best way to protect your loved ones, as well as yourself, this winter time. That’s why it’s free for those who need it most. Children aged 2-3 can get a free nasal spray from their doctor; everyone else can get a vaccination from their GP or their local pharmacist.”
More winter wellness advice is available at www.nhs.uk/staywell
Find out more about free NHS vaccines routinely offered to everyone and the ages at which they should ideally be given www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/