Get your flu jab

By Dr Wirin Bhatinai

This winter it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and others.

Influenza kills 11,000 people and hospitalises tens of thousands more in England in an average year.

This is not an average year. Covid-19 and flu will be circulating at the same time -  and you definitely don’t want to come down with both.

They can have serious consequences on their own, and the double-whammy of having both together significantly increases the danger.

That’s why I am urging people to get a flu vaccine to protect themselves, their families and the community. It will also reduce pressure on the NHS as it deals with coronavirus.

Flu is far worse than a bad cold. It can come on quickly and make you feel so poorly that you may not be able to get out of bed.

If you have health issues, such as diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or heart problems, flu can have serious consequences and you might end up in hospital.

The very young and old are also particularly vulnerable to flu. Children are ‘super spreaders’; if they give an elderly relative the flu they could make them extremely ill.

If you’re entitled to a free vaccination, that means you need one. And if you’re not entitled to a free jab, you can still be vaccinated for around £10 to £13 at your pharmacy.

Some Covid-19 and flu symptoms are similar. If you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a change or loss in your sense of taste or smell, you must book a coronavirus test.

The same measures to stop the spread of coronavirus will also help prevent the spread of flu: regular handwashing, wearing a face covering and keeping your distance from others.

However, your best protection is to have the flu vaccination!

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