A flu jab could save your life

Doctors in south Suffolk are urging people to take advantage of the free flu vaccination in the coming months – it could save your life.

Around 600 people die from complications as a result of flu every year, and healthcare experts will be inviting patients to attend surgeries for the jab.

Sudbury GP Dr Rakesh Raja said: “The flu vaccination is free for all eligible patients. It’s quick and simple, and could save their life.

“Many practices will be offering walk-in flu vaccination clinics during September and October and I would encourage everyone in an at-risk group to attend. Please don’t take the risk of avoiding it.”

Flu is an infectious and common viral illness and is easily spread by coughs and sneezes. Doctors warn that it is not the same as the common cold – it is caused by a different virus grouping.

If your symptoms are more severe and last longer than usual, contact your doctor immediately.

“Flu occurs every year, especially in winter and, for many people, will result in symptoms such as headaches, aches, pains and tiredness,” said Dr Raja.

At-risk groups include those over 65, pregnant women, people living in residential care and carers of the elderly and disabled.

All children aged two to four years old will be invited to receive the vaccination, reducing the possibility of infecting other children.

If you are aged between six months and 65 and have a heart problem, a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, liver disease, diabetes or neurological conditions, then you are at an elevated risk of developing a more serious illness, or even death.

If you have had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack, the risks of the flu to your health could be greater, and you should seek medical attention upon experiencing symptoms.

“For people in at-risk groups, flu can have serious consequences,” said Dr Raja. “This can lead to existing health conditions getting worse or patients developing an illness such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

“Pregnant women are at higher risk and having the vaccination can protect them and reduce complications.”

For flu clinic details, go to www.westsuffolkccg.nhs.uk and follow the links.