NHS launches drive to keep flu at bay


The Public Health England and NHS England have launched a major drive to help people stay well this winter. Asian Lite reports

nhsManagers in both organisations are urging eligible people to start by making sure they get their free flu jab.

Those eligible are pregnant women, patients over 65, those under 65 with long term conditions and carers. Children aged from two to six are to receive a free nasal spray vaccine to protect against flu.

Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, told Leicester Mercury : “Flu kills.

“For many people it is an unpleasant illness but for the most vulnerable in society – small children, the elderly, those with long-term health problems and for pregnant women – it is extremely dangerous and can be lethal.

“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching flu and I would urge everyone who is offered the vaccine free on the NHS to get vaccinated.”

Last year, a programme piloted in Leicestershire showed vaccinating children had two benefits.

As well as protecting them from flu it also prevented youngsters spreading flu to parents, grandparents and siblings.

If the vaccination is not offered through schools it will be available through GPs or pharmacists.

Professor Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director at Public Health England, told Mercury: “The nasal spray vaccination is quick, effective and painless, and remains the best way to help you and your family stay well this winter.”

NHS trusts have also begun vaccinating health workers.

All frontline staff are being offered a free flu jab tothemselves and patients.

The NHS “stay well this winter” campaign is also urging those over 65 and those with long-term conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease or respiratory illness to prepare for winter with advice on how to ward off common illnesses.

Tips include making sure homes are heated to at least 18 degrees centigrade (65 degrees Fahrenheit).

Patients who start to feel unwell – even if it is just a cough or cold – should immediately get advice from their pharmacist before their condition worsens.