Flu changes every year…make sure YOU are protected

With Dr Kirstie Truman, GP in Sketty and Killay centres

Flu changes every year…make sure YOU are protected

THIS MONTH DR KIRSTIE TRUMAN, GP IN SKETTY AND KILLAY MEDICAL CENTRES TAKES OVER FROM DR CHRIS JOHNS, IN A NEW MONTHLY MEDICAL COLUMN. DR TRUMAN FROM THE BAYHEALTH COMMUNITY NETWORK GPS WILL BE OFFERING ADVICE AND GUIDANCE TO BAY READERS.

DR TRUMAN KICKS OFF WITH TIMELY ADVICE ON THE FLU VACCINE

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Flu is caused by viruses which can change each year, so new vaccines are produced to try and match them. For the best protection, you need to have the seasonal flu vaccination every year. It’s the best way to protect yourself and others from flu.

Last year, after the vaccine had been made, the virus changed unexpect-edly and the vaccine prepared didn’t match it. This couldn’t be predicted and unfortunately meant the flu vaccine wasn’t as effective as we would like. But it was still the best way to protect people from flu.

It takes approximately 2 weeks following vaccination to develop protection against flu so it is important to get vaccinated early and before flu starts to circulate.

Some people think flu is just a bad cold, but it isn’t; flu is much worse than that. Symptoms start suddenly and can be severe. They usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles, and often a cough and sore throat.

Most people who are fit and well recover fully from flu, but for some people flu can cause serious illnesses that can lead to hospital treatment. Flu spreads easily and causes many deaths every winter.

Who can have the FREE seasonal flu vaccination?

The flu vaccine is available FREE on the NHS for the following people:

Those aged 65 or over

Those with chronic medical

conditions including asthma, heart, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, neurological conditions, stroke or spleen problems

People with lowered immunity

Pregnant women

Children aged two to seven

years old

People living in a nursing or

residential home

Carers

Community First Responders

How can I get the FREE seasonal flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is usually available from the end of September. Most adults can have their flu vaccine as an injection by arranging an appoint-ment with their GP practice. The vaccine is also available in selected pharmacies across Wales.

The preferred vaccine for children is a nasal spray. Children aged two, three and four years old who are not in school and children with in-creased risk of complications from flu can be vaccinated by making an appointment with their family GP practice.

Children in Reception Class and Years 1 and 2 in Primary School will be offered the nasal spray vaccine at school.

Further information and advice is available from www.beatflu.org, your local pharmacy or GP Practice.

If you are not in any of the groups above you can obtain the vaccine from your pharmacy for a cost of around £10.

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