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Protect yourself from flu this winter

Fylde coast residents are being urged to get their flu jab as soon as possible by local doctors.

The message comes as the NHS prepares for the busy winter period, with doctors encouraging those particularly at risk from the effects of flu to protect themselves and their families.

Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have a long-term health condition like COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes; heart, kidney or liver disease or have suffered a stroke. Flu, on top of health conditions like these, can easily develop into something very serious and could land you in hospital. People with these and other long-term health conditions are eligible for a free flu jab through their GP or pharmacist.

Pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 as well as school children from reception class through to year 4 are also eligible for the free flu vaccine. For eligible children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray.

Flu can be horrible for little children, and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family. Children who get the flu have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat.

Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment. The flu vaccine can help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others.

If you have a child aged 2 or 3, get them vaccinated against flu with the free nasal spray flu vaccine from your GP. School children from reception class through to year 4 will get their vaccinations through their school.

Speaking on behalf of the Fylde coast NHS, Dr Amanda Doyle, who is a GP in Blackpool said: “If you are eligible for the flu vaccine then it’s because you need it. It’s important you get it.

“Flu isn’t just a bad cold. It can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.

“The vaccine provides year-long protection from flu which not only protects you as an individual, but also helps to stop the spread of the virus to your family and friends.”

Contact your GP practice as soon as possible to arrange your flu vaccination appointment. Alternatively, you can visit your local pharmacy, many of which offer walk-in appointments. Pregnant women should speak to their midwife.

Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.