Every year thousands of Scots become ill with the flu but for pregnant women or those with an underlying health condition, the effects of flu can hit you with greater impact and last for longer.
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. The flu can knock you out for a week or more and if you’re pregnant, over 65 years of age or have an existing long-term health condition such as diabetes, asthma or other heart and lung conditions, it can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
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.
The jab is quick, easy and safe. Once you’ve received the vaccination, it will take around ten days to work and will protect you from flu for about a year. It doesn’t contain live viruses, so it can’t give you the flu. However, the vaccine works by helping your body to identify and fight the virus so if you do feel achy for a day or so after getting the jab, this can be a good sign that the vaccination is working and that your immune system is responding.
For further information on the seasonal flu campaign, log on to www.immunisationscotland.org.uk. If you are unsure if you are eligible, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.