The local NHS provider of health improvement services is urging people throughout Calderdale who are vulnerable to flu to make plans to get their seasonal flu vaccination.
The Calderdale health improvement service, which is provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is urging everybody in at-risk groups to visit their GP and get immunised against flu.
For most people, seasonal flu is unpleasant but not serious and they recover within a week. However, certain people are at greater risk of developing serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
It is recommended you have a flu jab if you are over 65 years of age, are pregnant, have a serious medical condition, are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility, are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person or are a frontline health or social care worker.
An estimated 16 million people in England can get a free flu jab. They include 8.8 million elderly people, 5.4 million with an existing medical condition and 600,000 pregnant women.
Pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu. As was the case last year, this winter (2011/12) it is recommended that all pregnant women should have the seasonal flu vaccine irrespective of their stage of pregnancy. Studies have also shown that the inactivated flu vaccine can be safely and effectively administered during any trimester of pregnancy and the vaccine does not present an increased risk of complications to either the mother or baby.
Even if you’ve already had a flu jab in previous years, you need another one this year. The flu jab may only protect you for a year because the viruses that cause flu are always changing. This year’s seasonal flu vaccination also includes a vaccine to protect against swine flu (H1N1).
Speaking about the flu jab health improvement specialist Judy Stewart said, "Despite popular belief, the flu vaccine cannot give you flu as it doesn’t contain the active virus needed to do this, but is your best protection against flu. Contact your local GP now and get your flu jab booked in before the winter arrives. The vaccination only takes a minute and is safe, effective and free."
To book yourself in for a flu vaccination contact your local GP. More information about flu is available online at www.nhs.uk