NHS bosses in Brighton and Hove have urged anyone at risk of suffering health complications if they catch flu to have their free jab to protect them this winter.
Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The health service in Sussex has prepared for its largest ever flu protection drive.”
The CCG said that the aim was “to help keep local people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the winter, with the flu vaccines now available for free for those in ‘at risk’ groups”.
During the flu season last year, more than 70 people ended up in hospital in Brighton and Hove with flu and it led to the death of a small number of patients.
The CCG said: “Local doctors believe this could have been avoided had those eligible taken up the opportunity to get their free jab.”
This, they said, would have helped ease pressure on local health services by leading to fewer avoidable GP appointments, fewer people needing hospital care and fewer deaths from flu.
For those who have flu symptoms, the NHS advises rest and sleep, to stay warm, take paracetamol or ibuprofen and to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Andrew Hodson, the CCG’s new clinical chair, said: “Flu is potentially a very serious illness. People might think that flu is just a cough or cold but it can develop into a very significant illness, particularly in patients most at risk.
“The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself, and anyone you care for, from flu.”
Dr Hodson added: “NHS services across Sussex have been working hard together to prepare for the winter season.
“Staff have been getting their flu jab and we’re urging that you, your children or relatives take up the free flu vaccine as soon as you can if you are in one of the eligible groups.”
Those who could become seriously ill if they get flu can claim a free flu jab including
- All children aged two to ten on Saturday 31 August
- Those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 years and over
- Those in long-stay residential care homes
- Close contacts of immune-compromised individuals
The CCG added: “People identified at risk of complications can receive the flu vaccine through their GP and from their local high street pharmacist.
“The childhood vaccination programme uses a flu nasal spray, protecting children and anyone they come into contact with.”
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