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Winter Flu Campaign

Flu Fighter

Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some. In 2010-11 602 people died from flu in England and almost 9,000 patients were admitted to hospital of which 2,200 were admitted to intensive care.

Those at greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with long-term health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, liver or kidney disease and neurological conditions and diabetes. From 1 October 2014, those people at most risk will be encouraged to get a free flu jab from their GP.

The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year. The jab doesn't contain the 'live' virus so it cannot give you the flu. 

Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the kids or go to work. In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital - it can even be a killer. The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it's good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter.

Having a flu jab is quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus. Contact your GP now to arrange a convenient appointment for your jab.

Visit our Flu Facts and Flu Fiction sections to find out more about the flu vaccine.

Flu Facts

Flu kills

Globally seasonal flu accounts for up to five million causes of severe illness annually and up to 500,000 deaths.

The vaccine is one of the safest in the world
The flu vaccine is given to millions of people in the UK each year. Whilst specific strains of flu may change from one year to the next vaccines are thoroughly tested and are safe.

The flu jab can't give you the flu
It is impossible to get the flu from having a flu jab because the vaccine does not contain any live viruses.

You need a flu jab every year
Even if you had a flu vaccination last year you will need another one this winter as you won't be protected against the new strains of flu circulating.

Vaccination works
The World Health Organisation cites clean water and vaccination as the two interventions that have had the greatest impact on Public Health. The seasonal flu vaccine typically gives up to 80% protection against infection.

Pregnant women can be vaccinated
Pregnant women can have the flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy. Having a flu vaccination whilst pregnant helps to protect a baby from flu over the first few months of life.

Flu Fiction

Flu myths are everywhere and they're highly infectious:

Healthy people don't get seasonal flu. FALSE
Anyone can pick up the flu virus and that's why we're offering staff a FREE flu jab this winter. Around 20% of the population, including otherwise healthy people, get flu each year.

The side effects of the vaccination are really bad. FALSE
For most people the side effects of having a flu vaccination are really mild or non-existent. You may experience a slight soreness around the injection site, some aching muscles or slightly raised temperature

The flu jab isn't safe. FALSE
The risk of having a serious reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine is less that 1 in 1,000,000 - much less than the risk of getting ill from the flu itself! The only people who should NOT have the flu vaccine are those who have a severe allergic reaction to eggs - hens eggs are used in the manufacture of the vaccine.

The flu jab can give you the flu. FALSE
It is impossible to get the flu from having a flu jab because the vaccine does not contain any live viruses.

For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu