Carers launch the flu campaign

Published Wednesday, 11th October 2017
Carers corner
Members of the Rotherham Carers Forum

Carers are being encouraged to have the flu jab to protect themselves and their loved ones this winter.

People with health conditions such as severe asthma, diabetes, and chest and heart complaints are being encouraged to visit their local GP surgery now to have their flu jab.

Rotherham Council is also reminding carers that they are also entitled to get the flu vaccination, as although flu poses a risk to them, it can be even more serious for people with health problems or disabilities.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr David Roche, said: “Complications such as pneumonia are over 10 times more common in people with long term illnesses.

“So, if you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person who may be put at risk if you fall ill, and/or you are in receipt of Carer's Allowance, you should be entitled to a free flu jab at your local GP surgery.

“We are approaching the time of year when flu begins to spread among the community now, so don’t delay - tell your GP that you are a carer and ask for the jab.”

The Council’s Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche, added: “As a carer for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own health and wellbeing.

“People who are carers might not always consider that they may need protection as well as the elderly or vulnerable people they care for, so we want to remind them to book an appointment for themselves.

"As well as protecting the carer from getting flu, it will help prevent them from passing the virus onto the person they are caring for. Flu is unpleasant for the majority of people who catch it, but for some it can lead to chest infections, severe complications and even death.”

Unlike other medication for long term conditions, the flu jab is an annual one-off vaccine. The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe.

The flu jab can’t give you the flu because the vaccine doesn't contain the live viruses. A very small number of people experience side effects such as aching muscles, but this is simply the immune system responding to the vaccine.

So please take the time to look after yourself as well as your loved ones and get flu safe by contacting your GP surgery to see if you are eligible for a free flu jab.