Now is the time to protect against flu

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WITH the winter snap already beginning to bite, people are being reminded of the importance of having a flu jab.

The protection is particularly important for pregnant women or those with underlying health conditions, as the impact of flu can hit harder and lead to further complications.

It’s easy to dismiss flu as just another bad cold, but there have been on average 500 deaths each winter which may be attributable to influenza and thousands more suffer severe complications.

With the flu, you can get chills, fever, nasal and sinus congestion, sore throat and extreme fatigue.

But there’s a quick and simple solution to protecting yourself and your loved ones from flu this winter.

The seasonal flu vaccine is free and available from your GP or health centre.

To be protected, get your jab early before flu viruses are circulating.

The jab is being offered to anyone in the following groups:

• Those under 65 with existing long-term medical conditions (i.e. asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, MS and other heart, lung and liver diseases)

• Pregnant women

• Those aged 65 years and over

• NHS healthcare staff

• Unpaid carers

Thousands of people aged under 65 across Scotland who are entitled to get the flu jab didn’t take up the offer last year. So local health professionals are urging people in ‘at risk’ groups, to come forward and receive their annual flu jab.

You may have received the flu vaccine last year but it’s important that you still get the jab again this year. Annual re-vaccination will guard against any risk of your immunity reducing.

For further information log on to www.immunisationscotland.org.uk.

If you are unsure if you are eligible, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.