Health leaders from NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are reminding vulnerable people that it is not too late to get the flu jab and that it is important to be protected right up until March.
Public Health England reports that A(H1N1)pdm09 is now the main seasonal flu virus detected so far this season in the UK. Although it’s not certain which viruses will actually circulate later this winter, it’s known from recent seasons dominated by A(H1N1)pdm09 that this strain affects children, pregnant women, and adults with long term conditions like chronic heart disease, liver disease and respiratory disease in particular.
Flu is a highly infectious viral illness which can lead to complications with hospital admissions and even death. Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and fatigue.
The flu jab is the best form of protection for vulnerable and at-risk patients, including the elderly, pregnant women and those with long term illnesses such as asthma who are most likely to have a severe and even potentially fatal illness if they do get flu.
Dr Deryth Stevens, Chair of NHS Warwickshire North CCG, said:
“Flu in the vulnerable groups can be extremely serious and have far reaching complications. Having a vaccination reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk. So, we are reminding everyone who is eligible that it is not too late to have the flu vaccination. Having the jab is really straightforward and safe, and it is not possible to catch flu from it as there is no live virus in the vaccination.
“The A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses detected in the UK this season are well-matched to the vaccine strain this flu season. Even if you have had the flu in recent months you will only be protected by the immunity you developed naturally against one of them as flu is caused by several viruses. You could go on to catch another strain, so it's recommended you have the jab even if you've recently had flu. Also, what you thought was flu could have been something else.
“It is also important to remember that the strains of flu virus can vary from year to year, which is why you need to get the vaccination every year. So, even if you received the vaccine last year, you still need to get the vaccination for this flu season.
“If you're pregnant, you could get very ill if you get flu, which could also be bad for your baby. Having the jab can also protect your baby against flu after they're born and during the early months of life. It’s very important that pregnant women should have the vaccine whatever stage of pregnancy they are in.”
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