Don’t let the flu get you – get vaccinated

Health leaders across Bolton are calling on everyone to play their part and get a flu jab ahead of a critical winter for the NHS.

Flu is a serious and debilitating illness that puts lives in danger and places our public health services under immense pressure every single year.

But this winter, as the borough continues to battle the Covid-19 virus, it is vital that as many of us as possible get a flu jab to protect the most vulnerable in our community.

Councillor Susan Baines, Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for wellbeing, said: “For many of us, this will be the most critical flu season in our lifetimes, and I urge anyone who is eligible for a flu jab to get one as soon as possible.

“We have all worked hard and given up so much to protect the NHS and keep our most vulnerable friends and relatives safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“But that work will have been for nothing if we allow flu to spread freely across Bolton.” 

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chair of Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This year it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and others. Both flu and Covid will be circulating at the same time and you don’t want to come down with both!

“There is also a commonly held view that the flu vaccine can give you flu – this is simply not the case. You may have a sore arm afterwards or children might feel a bit snuffly after the nasal spray, but this is nothing compared to genuine flu.

“GP practices and pharmacies across Bolton have already started their vaccination programmes and I would urge anyone who is entitled to a free flu jab to take up the offer.”

Marie Forshaw, director of nursing, midwifery and AHPs at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re working hard this year to get 100 per cent of our staff vaccinated against flu. Every year we see and treat the effects of flu, which can be fatal in extreme cases – we want to make sure we’re doing all we can to protect our staff and the wider community from getting it.”

Vaccination dramatically reduces your chances of getting flu and spreading it to family members, friends or colleagues who may be less able to fight off the infection.

It also reduces your risk of becoming seriously ill and having to go to hospital if you do catch flu.

Among the most at risk groups are the over 65s, pregnant women, young children and those with existing health conditions such as diabetes or heart trouble.

These groups, as well as people working in health and social care, are entitled to a free flu vaccination each year.

Health and social care staff in the community can get a free jab by presenting proof of ID, such as ID Badge or a wage slip, to a community pharmacist or their own GP. 

If you care for someone, or you receive a Carer’s Allowance, ask your GP or pharmacist about a free flu vaccine.

Anyone not entitled to a free vaccine can still get protected via their local pharmacy for around £10 to £13.

Flu is easily spread through coughs and sneezes, by touching surfaces then touching your face, and directly through saliva or nose secretions. The best defence against flu is to have the flu vaccine, but to help prevent the spread it’s important to wash your hands properly and ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ using a tissue.

School children from Reception to Year Seven can be vaccinated against flu with a painless nasal spray via their school health programme.

The spray is also available for two and three year olds and parents should receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment with their GP.

Children in particular are considered ‘super spreaders’; if they give an elderly relative the flu they could make them extremely ill.

 

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