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“Help us help you this winter by getting your flu vaccination” says Nurse, Maureen James

Wed 24 Oct 2018
By Nathan Jones

Senior Practice Nurse, Maureen James from Gillan House Surgery in London is encouraging all at risk groups from African and Caribbean communities to speak to their GP, pharmacist or midwife before the end of November about the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their families before the flu season takes hold.

The flu vaccine is free for at risk groups including pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 as well as school children in reception to year 5, people under 65 with long-term health conditions and those aged 65 and over.

Senior Practice Nurse, Maureen James, said “Flu is a serious illness that could lead to people being admitted into hospital and may cause permanent disability or even death.”

“If children get the flu they have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headaches and a sore throat. Some children also develop a very high fever and complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis which may require treatment in hospital.”

“Also, when children are ill they also tend to spread infection more to other vulnerable family members, such as grandparents, so protecting them is a good way to protect the rest of the family too. The flu nasal spray vaccination for children is quick, effective and a painless alternative to needles.”

“When you’re having a baby, there are so many things to think about and to prepare for and protecting your unborn child against flu should be one of them. Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system, and as a result flu can cause serious complications for both the mother and her unborn baby. We know that getting flu during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or the baby being born prematurely or with a low birthweight; getting the flu vaccine reduces these risks. The vaccination also helps protect the baby who will continue to have some immunity to flu during the first few months of life.”

“Flu on top of underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease could increase the chances of serious health complications and even a hospital visit. Similarly, we also know that people over 65 are more likely to catch and have complications from flu.”

“I believe that getting the vaccine is the best way to help protect against catching flu. So, I’d really encourage African and Caribbean people from the at risk groups to get the flu vaccine. It’s free.”

“I’d also encourage parents of children in reception and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to give permission for their children to receive the free nasal spray vaccination as children in these year groups will be offered the vaccination at school.”

Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information

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