Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter. It is highly infectious. Most people have an unpleasant self-limiting illness; however, some people are more seriously affected. Certain people are more at risk if they get the flu including the elderly, those with a pre-existing medical condition, young children and pregnant women.
The flu vaccination is the best protection we have against the flu. It takes a couple of weeks for your immune system to give you protection against the flu. Therefore, it is recommended to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.
This year all two and three year olds and all primary school children will be offered the flu vaccination. For most children, the vaccine will be given as a spray in each nostril, this is a very quick and painless procedure.
The following people are recommended to have the flu vaccine:
For more details please refer to The Flu Vaccination booklet or visit the NHS website; or speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist. If you are not eligible for a free vaccine then some pharmacies are offering a flu vaccine at a small charge.
Will I get any side effects?
Side effects of the nasal vaccine may commonly include a runny or blocked nose, headache, tiredness and some loss of appetite.
Those having the injected vaccine may get a sore arm at the site of the injection, a low grade fever and aching muscles for a day or two after the vaccination. Serious side effects with either vaccine are uncommon.
I had the flu vaccination last year. Do I need another one this year?
Yes; the flu vaccine for each winter helps provide protection against the strains of flu that are likely to be present and may be different from those circulating last year. For this reason we strongly recommend that even if you were vaccinated last year, you should be vaccinated again this year. In addition protection from the flu vaccine may only last about six months so you should have the flu vaccine each flu season.
I am pregnant. Do I need a flu vaccination this year?
Yes. All pregnant women should have the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their babies. The flu vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy, from conception onwards.
Pregnant women benefit from the flu vaccine because it will: