As a carer for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own health and wellbeing.
Last winter only half of the carers in Derbyshire got a flu jab. Now, health leaders are reminding carers that flu poses a serious risk to both themselves and the person they care for so they should get protected with a free flu jab this winter.
The plea was made this week by NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and buys healthcare for 525,000 patients.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, said:
“As a carer you want to do everything you can to help protect those in your care. However, last winter half the carers in Derbyshire didn’t take the opportunity to have a free flu jab. Flu can knock even the healthiest people off their feet for a couple of weeks, making it impossible for a carer to look after the person in their care.
“People with health conditions such as severe asthma, diabetes, and chest and heart complaints are being encouraged to visit their local GP surgery now to have their flu jab, so we want to remind carers to book an appointment for themselves as well to get protected.
“It’s not just about protecting the carer from getting flu, but also preventing them from passing the virus onto the vulnerable person they care for. Flu is a highly infectious disease which is easily spread from one person to another. Getting flu when you already have a long-term condition can lead to serious complications, and it can even be a killer.”
Unlike other medication for long-term conditions, the flu jab is an annual one-off vaccine. 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 to stay flu safe.
Dr Newport added:
“The flu jab is completely safe and doesn’t carry the live flu virus so it can’t give you flu. So please take the time to look after yourself as well as your loved ones and get flu safe with a free jab at your local GP surgery.”
Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab. It’s quick, safe and free for carers and those living with a long-term health condition.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is responsible for the healthcare of 525,000 people. It is one of four clinical commissioning groups in Derbyshire.
1. In the 2011/12 flu season patient groups in England experienced the following levels of seasonal flu vaccine uptake:
Pregnant women – 27.4%
All ‘at risk’ groups under 65 years – 51.6%
65 years and over – 74%
Carers – 45.2%
In Derbyshire, the uptake among carers was 50.8%. There were a total of 8,857 people eligible and 4,495 immunised.
2. Flu vaccinations are currently offered free of charge to the following ‘at risk’ groups:
people aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2013).
all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season).
people with a serious medical condition such as:
i. chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis
ii. chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
iii. chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5
iv. chronic liver disease
v. chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson's disease or motor neurone disease
vii. a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
people living in long stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high
morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, or university halls of residence people who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
Charles Malkin, Communications Officer
Tel: 01332 868954/07825 274111