10:10am Saturday 29th October 2011
By James Tourgout
DOCTORS are urging people to make sure they have their free flu jabs as soon as possible this winter.
Pensioners and people in ‘at risk’ groups are among those advised to have the injection to guard against the potentially fatal illness.
Health programme advisor for NHS Dorset Denise Winter warned that those snubbing the vaccination could put themselves and their families at risk.
She said: “You tend to hear quite a few reasons why people don’t think they need one.
“These range from people thinking that the jab is worse than having flu itself to them have natural immunity, of which there is no such thing.”
She added: “The flu virus spreads easily and you could pass it on to someone else without even knowing.
“We would encourage everyone who is invited to have a vaccination to accept the offer even if they had it last year or are not normally affected.”
Those in at risk groups entitled to free jabs are: l those 65 and over; l those who have a serious illness; l those who live in a long-stay residential home; l main carers of an older or disabled person; l mums to be; l health care workers.
Serious illnesses include chronic heart conditions, chronic respiratory conditions including asthma, kidney disease or diabetes and lowered immunity due to HIV, steroid medication or cancer treatment.
The H1N1 virus that caused the ‘swine flu’ pandemic in 2009 will still be around this winter.
Therefore this year’s seasonal flu vaccine will include a vaccine to protect against it.
NHS Dorset says there can be mild symptoms from the vaccine. They include sore arms, neck pain, local reaction at the site of vaccination and a temperature.
To find out more about the seasonal flu vaccination talk to your GP or pharmacist, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit Dorset.nhs.uk.
THE flu virus is spread in the small droplets of saliva coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.
It can also spread if someone with the virus touches common surfaces such as door handles with unwashed hands.
Preventing the spread of germs is the most effective way to slow the spread of flu. People are advised to cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue, bin the tissue as soon as possible and clean their hands or use a sanitiser gel.
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