The local NHS in West Lancashire is urging people to get their flu vaccination.
For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant illness that usually lasts a week or so. However, older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with underlying disease are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu.
The high-risk groups that are recommended to have a flu vaccine are:
• Over 65s
• Pregnant women
• At risk groups, which cover those with a long term condition (e.g. diabetes), those with a weakened immune system (e.g. cancer patients), heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, kidney disease, liver disease, chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and people in long stay residential homes
• Health and social care workers
• Two, three and four year olds
Dr John Caine, a local GP and chair of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “People in the high risk groups are at particular risk from the more serious effects of flu. It is really important that people make an appointment at their practice as soon as possible and protect themselves from the viral illness.
“We understand that it can be hard to find time, but a quick jab will protect you, your family, friends and colleagues over the winter months.”
Pregnant women are strongly encouraged not to put off the flu vaccination. Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result, increases the risk of a mother and unborn baby becoming seriously ill from flu.
Children aged two, three and four will be offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect them against flu. Young children’s close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to other more vulnerable groups.