Protect yourself from flu this winter

Published Friday, 11th October 2019
Woman blowing her nose.
Woman blowing her nose.

People are encouraged to get their flu vaccinations to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy this winter.

You can get the flu jab for free if you are over the age of 65; if you have a health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma or other respiratory conditions; if your body mass index is 40 or higher; if you are pregnant; or if you are a carer.

The flu vaccine is also available for children from 2 to 8 years old and is just a quick nasal spray. Children aged 2 or 3 will get the vaccine from their GP, while Rotherham school children from reception class through to year 6 will be offered vaccinations through their school.

Flu is a highly infectious disease that can lead to serious complications, especially if you have a long-term health condition.

Expectant mothers are at risk of flu as pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system. Carers are at risk of passing it to the people they look after, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Protecting yourself against flu reduces the chance of you needing to visit your doctor or be admitted to hospital, which will help free up appointments for those who need them most. If you are feeling unwell, your local pharmacy can help and offer advice on colds and winter wellness. Parents are reminded that notes from GPs are not required if your child is ill.

Cllr David Roche, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “With winter just around the corner, it’s important that everyone helps to stop the spread of illnesses. If you are eligible for the vaccine, please don’t delay in booking your appointment. Getting the flu jab is not just about keeping yourself safe, it’s about protecting your family, friends and colleagues too.”

The Council’s Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche added: “The flu vaccination is perfectly safe. There’s a common misconception that the flu jab can give you the flu but this is not true as the vaccine does not contain live viruses. Some people experience side effects, such as aching muscles, but this is your immune system responding to the vaccine.

It is also important to remember that the strain of flu changes year after year so to be fully protected, make sure you have your jab – even if you had it last year.”

Contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife to the get the flu jab, or talk to your school to learn more about vaccinations for your child.

Visit the NHS Website