South Tyneside residents urged to protect themselves from flu
Fri 28th October 20110
The free flu vaccine protects those who are most at risk from flu – including pregnant women and their unborn babies, children and adults with long term health problems, anyone over 65 and carers of those in at risk groups.
Last year flu left many people seriously ill and requiring hospital treatment and the majority were people of working age with a long term condition such as asthma or diabetes.
The flu vaccine is available now from GP surgeries and is free on the NHS to eligible people to keep them safe during winter.
South Shields GP Dr Colin Bradshaw Marsden Road Surgery, Marsden Road, South Shields warning that flu can kill despite it being an entirely preventable disease.
“Whilst most people who are normally fit and healthy recover from flu by taking plenty of rest, fluids and over the counter flu remedies, for those in risk groups it can cause serious illness and in the most tragic of cases, death.
“Last winter many people were so ill with flu they needed ended up in intensive care in hospitals across the north east. Most of these patients were under 65 and were in at risk groups but had not taken up their free offer of the vaccine – sadly some died.
“All of this can be prevented with the free and safe annual flu jab which is available now and includes protection against the H1N1 strain which caused the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and continues to attack younger people for this reason it is really important that all pregnant women are protected no matter what stage of pregnancy.”
Dr Tricia Cresswell, deputy medical director at NHS North East said: “Over the past few years we’ve all seen just how serious flu can be, with people of all ages needing hospital treatment, many in intensive care. We don’t want anyone to get ill from something which can be avoided and that’s why people in the flu risk groups should book a vaccination appointment with their GP as soon as possible.”
People who need the free flu jab include:
- All pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
- Anyone over 6 months with a long term health problem such as:
- a chest problem or breathing difficulties (such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema)
- a heart problem
- kidney disease or liver disease
- a neurological condition (such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy)
- a problem with the spleen (such as sickle cell disease) or if the spleen has been removed
- anyone who has suffered a stroke
- a lowered immune system due to disease (such as cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease) or treatment (such as cancer treatment).
- Anyone aged over 65
- Anyone who lives in a residential or nursing home
- Anyone who cares for an older or disabled person
- All frontline health and social care workers.