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Boost your health - Get a winter flu jab

dr p wood

A leading Derbyshire doctor is calling for people to protect themselves against winter germs and bugs by getting a free flu jab. 

Dr Paul Wood, GP Lead for Urgent Care for NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding anyone over the age of 65 to get their free vaccination.

The vaccine is the best protection against the flu virus during autumn and winter months when it is more likely – particularly for vulnerable groups like the elderly, pregnant women, or very young children – to suffer complications from flu.  Even if someone has had the vaccination before it is important to get it again because the type of virus in circulation changes every year so the vaccine changes too.

In winter 2013/14, over 9001 people nationwide were admitted to hospital with confirmed cases of flu and 10 per cent of all patients admitted died as a result of the flu virus.

Dr Wood said: “Flu is a really unpleasant illness, particularly for those over 65.

“You’re more likely to become seriously ill and have complications like pneumonia or make an existing condition worse if you catch it. This may result in an unwanted hospital stay and can even be fatal. 

“Flu tends to circulate between September and March and the flu vaccine is available from October, so I would urge anyone who is offered a free flu vaccination to visit their GP or pharmacy now.

“It’s quick, safe and free if you’re over 65 and contrary to popular myth it can’t give you flu because it has no live vaccine.

“Make an appointment today - it’s free for those who really need it.”

GP send out letters telling patients about dates and times of their flu clinics. For the first time this year some pharmacies are offering the flu jab too. Patients can check with local pharmacies to see if they are offering the service.

Finlay Bolton (four) from Allestree, had his vaccination for the first time this year, supported by his mum Jenny (39).

The Markeaton Primary School pupil was seen by Dr Wood, who explained what would happen and how it would feel before the inoculation was given.

Jenny said: “Finlay wasn’t worried about having the vaccine because he’d been told it would just feel like a tickle up his nose and I’d promised him a treat afterwards!

“He’s just started school so we wanted to do everything we can to make sure he stays fit and well so he doesn’t have to take time off being ill and miss out on lessons and Christmas parties.

“His grandparents are in their 60s so we also didn’t want him passing on nasty flu illnesses to them and making them poorly.

“The whole thing only took five minutes from start to finish so it was no hassle to get it done.”

Anyone who cares for someone over 65 is advised to get vaccinated too, to protect them and the person they care for.

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

FLU FIGHTERS: Dr Paul Wood, GP Lead for Urgent Care for NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group talks to Finlay Bolton, four, as he gets his flu vaccine.

Boost your health - Get a winter flu jab