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Protect yourself from flu

12 November 2014

Carers Scotland encourages carers to protect themselves from flu.

Flu is much worse than a bad cold and can make even healthy people very unwell.

If have, or care for someone with, underlying health condition such as diabetes, asthma or heart and lung conditions, flu can lead to serious complications which may need hospital treatment.

Pregnant women can also suffer serious health problems if they catch flu because their immune system changes during pregnancy.

The free flu vaccine is available across Scotland from October to protect people from the most common strains of flu circulating this winter. It is safe and every year in Scotland over a million doses of the flu vaccine are administered.

Carers, people with underlying health conditions and older people are priority groups and will receive the free flu vaccine.

There are a number of myths surrounding flu immunisation but the vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses so it can’t give you flu. Some people may experience symptoms such as a sore arm or achiness for a day or so after being immunised but this can be a sign your immune system is responding and the vaccine is working.

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Aileen Keel explains the benefits of the flu vaccine, “If you are in one of groups most at risk from flu, the best way to protect yourself is to take up the offer of the flu vaccine.

“It only takes a few minutes to receive the vaccine but it will protect you for around a year. Even if you were immunised against flu last year, it’s important to receive the vaccine again each year as the viruses can change.

“It’s best to get the flu vaccine before there’s lots of viruses circulating so make an appointment with your GP practice as soon as possible – it’s better safe than sorry.”

This year, the seasonal flu immunisation programme has been extended to all children in Scotland aged 2-11 years. Children aged between 2 and 5 and not yet in school will be offered the vaccine at their GP practice, and those aged between 5 and 11 will be offered it at their primary school.

Public facing healthcare professionals are also being urged to get the seasonal flu vaccine to ensure that they are protected and stop the spread of flu to vulnerable patients.

To find out more about the seasonal flu immunisation programme visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk or call NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88 or visit www.facebook.com/getthejab

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