With winter around the corner, the infection prevention control team at our Trust are encouraging members of the public to arm themselves against flu and get vaccinated.
Flu is an unpleasant, infectious viral illness which travels easily from person to person as well as in the air. Like any virus, you can catch the flu at any time of year, but winter is a prime time and when people can be at their most vulnerable.
There are many symptoms of flu, some of which are like that of a cold. The main ones include a sudden fever, sneezing, a runny/blocked nose, achy limbs and a sore throat. Symptoms will usually peak after two to three days and you should begin to feel much better within five to eight days. If your symptoms get worse, see your GP.
Mandy Reynolds, senior infection prevention nurse, explains who is entitled to have a free flu jab: “Here at the Trust, staff are making sure that they get protected, however, it is equally important for people to protect themselves and help minimise the impact flu can have.
“Without knowing it, you could be passing on this virus to your loved ones who may be vulnerable and at a higher risk of such serious illnesses as bronchitis and pneumonia. By having your vaccine, you are less likely to get the virus.
“The flu vaccination is freely available from your GP if you are pregnant, aged over 65, or suffer from a heart condition, diabetes, liver disease or have breathing problems such as asthma. If you are not entitled to the vaccine for free, it is easily available to anyone in most supermarkets and pharmacies at a small cost. Flu can be serious for young children. Help protect them from flu with one simple nasal spray. It’s free, fast and painless.”
It is also important to minimise the chances of spreading the flu bug by having good hygiene. Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water. Cleaning surfaces like computer keyboards, telephones and door handles regularly also helps get rid of germs. Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue straight into a bin, not forgetting to wash hands after doing so.
For more advice and information on flu, visit www.nhs.uk.