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Get flu safe

What causes flu? 

Having the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu, but what is it that makes us more likely to catch it in the first place? For a start, when you see someone coughing or sneezing, you might want to stand clear.

The flu virus is caused by tiny droplets that come from a person's nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze. The flu virus is spread when you are exposed to these droplets in the air, although it could just as easily be passed by shaking hands with someone or touching everyday objects that the droplets might have landed on. 

A bad bout of flu is much worse than a heavy cold. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles and extreame tiredness. In most cases, the symptoms are quite mild but in others they can be very serious. 

This is why getting the flu jab is so important. Another way to stop catching flu and limiting the spread of flu germs is by washing your hands with soap and water.

Who should consider having a flu vaccination?

  • Aged 65 years or over
  • Pregnant women
  • Have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney or neurological disease
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Children under the age of five (if eligible) 

What do I need to do now?

If you belong to one of the groups mentioned above (and you are not allergic to the vaccine), it's important that you have your flu vaccination. The vaccines are normally available from the beginning of October, depending on supplies. Speak to your GP or practice nurse, to book a vaccination appointment and get the best possible protection.

If you are a health or social care worker, find out what arrangements have been made at your workplace for providing flu vaccination.

It is best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn before any outbreaks of flu. Remember that you need it every year, so don't assume that you don't need another vaccination because you had one last year.

For more information about how to protect yourself and your family this winter click here

Other useful links:

You can choose better

We're encouraging you to choose better when deciding where to go for treatment if you are ill or injured. There are many services you could use to get the treatment you need and the Choose Better campaign aims to help you make the right choice.

For more information on Choose Better services, watch this humorous but informative animation here.

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