Get your 'flu jab now call

People in Cumbria are being urged to get their flu jab now to ensure they don’t spend the Christmas celebrations ill in bed or worse, in hospital.

High risk groups across the county including the over 65s, pregnant women and people with a serious existing health problem are all being asked to make sure they have had their free annual flu vaccination at their GP surgery or at participating pharmacies across Cumbria.

Cumbria NHS Clinical Commissioning Group says anyone with a long-term health condition, aged 65 or over or pregnant can become very ill if they suffer from flu and can often develop complications such as pneumonia, which in some cases can be fatal.

It says this is why people at high risk of getting very ill are offered a free flu vaccination every year. The flu vaccine is designed to protect against the strains of flu circulating during that particular winter.

The following groups all qualify for a flu vaccine and the CCG says they should contact their GP surgery straight away if they have not already received their free flu jab:

* People aged 65 and older

* Pregnant women (where both mother and baby will be protected)

*People living in a residential or nursing home

*People with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, COPD, bronchitis, liver disease, neurological disease such as Parkinson or motor neurone disease, or a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as for cancer)

*Main carers for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

*Healthcare or social care professionals directly involved in patient care (to be arranged by employers)

Patients in Cumbria who qualify for the free flu jab can also pop into a participating pharmacy without having to make an appointment and receive the jab when they are out shopping.

Dr Arabella Onslow, Deputy Lead GP for Furness, said: “Flu is a pretty unpleasant illness at the best of times and for vulnerable groups this can become more than unpleasant as complications include severe illness, hospitalisation and can even be fatal. If you don't get flu, you can’t get these complications.

“Vaccination not only protects you from flu but also helps reduce the reservoir of infection, for example the ability for flu to gain a hold within a community.

“Many thousands of people protect themselves with the flu jab, they may still get an irritating cough or cold, but hopefully that is the worse that will happen. Protect yourself, help your community and have a safe winter. If you are offered the flu jab - have it.”

Further information and advice on flu and available health services www.choosewell.cumbria.co.uk

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