With an anticipated severe outbreak of flu this winter people across east and west Suffolk are being encouraged to protect their health.
For many people a bout of flu will result in symptoms such as headaches, aches, pains and tiredness.
However, for people in “at-risk” groups flu can have serious consequences, leading to existing health conditions getting worse or the development of an illness such as bronchitis or pneumonia. It is important for eligible young children to have the vaccination to prevent the spread of flu to other “at-risk” family members.
People in these “at-risk” groups are entitled to a free flu vaccination from their GP practice. Some practices are offering walk-in clinics for eligible registered patients.
Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Australia is currently in the grip of its worst flu outbreak on record. The global circulation of the virus means that the seriousness of this outbreak could be reflected in the UK over the winter months. In a country with around one-third of the population of the UK, Australia has already experienced more than 50 flu-related deaths and 1500 flu-related hospital admissions.
“It is more important than ever for vulnerable people to contact their GP practice and arrange to have a flu vaccination. By doing so you could avoid the deterioration of a long-term health condition, an unnecessary stay in hospital or even death. You’ll also be helping the already stretched NHS cope during the busy winter months.”
Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning group, said: “Flu is a highly infectious viral illness which is spread by coughing and sneezing. Getting protected is quick and simple and the vaccination will help protect you against this potentially serious condition. GP practices will be offering flu vaccinations to their patients over the coming weeks. Don’t risk your health by declining this offer of protection.”
You are eligible for a free flu vaccination from your GP practice if you:
- Are aged 65 years or over
- Are pregnant
- Receive a carer’s allowance or are a carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- Are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- Are aged between six months and 65 years and have a heart problem, a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, liver disease, had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack(TIA), diabetes, a neurological condition or a problem with or removal of the spleen e.g. sickle cell disease
- Are a child born between 1 Sept 2013 – 31 August 2015 – plus children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four
You can see list of dates and times for flu clinics –
NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG area HERE
NHS West Suffolk CCG area HERE
Read more about flu HERE