The flu virus typically peaks around this time of year, the best way to help protect yourself and others from catching and spreading flu is to have the flu jab every year. Flu strains can change from year to year, which means last year’s jab may not protect you from this year’s strains. The vaccine usually provides protection for the duration of that year's flu season.Getting vaccinated is important each year but this year more than ever people are urged to have the vaccine in order to protect themselves, and the NHS, this winter.
Children aged between 2 and 10 years old will be offered the nasal spray vaccination. The adult flu vaccine is offered free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu. The groups being offered the adult flu vaccine are:
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 or over
- Those aged under 65 with long-term conditions
- Shielded patients and those in the same household aged 18 or over
- Pending supply, 50 - 64 year olds will be invited no earlier than November
Due to the pandemic, flu vaccination clinics may be held in a slightly different way this year. Clinic logistics are still being finalised and updated information will posted on GP surgeries webpages when confirmed.
For those who are elgible, GP surgeries across Norfolk and Waveney are gearing up to provide special clinics to offer patients their annual flu jab.
GPs are asking their patients to book a place in forthcoming flu clinics as soon as they are advertised. Alternatively, you can visit your nearest participating pharmacy. If you are housebound, please speak to your GP practice.
Those who do not fall within the eligible categories can still obtain a flu vaccine from their local participating pharmacy.
Common symptoms of flu include a high temperature, fatigue, headache, general aches and pains and a dry, chesty cough. If you are generally fit and healthy you can usually manage the symptoms at home yourself without seeing a doctor. The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help lower a high temperature and relieve aches. A pharmacist will be able to provide advice on medication.
People suffering with a cold or flu should avoid going into hospital, GP practice or other health setting to reduce the chance of vulnerable people catching the virus. The flu virus can be very dangerous for the elderly and the infirm particularly if they are already sick. This is a message that applies to people coming into hospital seeking treatment and to people coming to visit relatives.
Help to stop spreading colds and flu.
Colds and flu are caused by viruses and easily spread to other people. Germs from coughs and sneezes survive on hands and surfaces for up to 24 hours. You are infectious until all symptoms are gone which usually takes a week or two.
You can help prevent colds and flu spreading by using tissues to ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people, such as light switches and door handles. It is also important to keep household items clean, including cleaning such items as cups, glasses and towels, especially if someone in your house is ill.
People with worsening symptoms or respiratory problems are advised not to visit a GP surgery or a hospital but to call their GP first or call NHS111 for further advice.