What is the flu?
The “flu” is the common name for the influenza virus. Influenza is a nasty virus causes symptoms such as high fever and shivers, aching body and head, sore throat and stomach pains.
If you are healthy, the flu is unpleasant and can take two weeks to recover from. But catching the flu can be more serious if you are in a high-risk group.
What is the flu jab?
The flu jab is a vaccination against the influenza virus. Most people receive the flu vaccine as a single injection or jab. But children receive the vaccination in the form of a nasal spray.
Each flu season, different strains of flu virus are identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO). And it’s these strains that are included in the flu vaccine. In other words, the flu vaccine is tailor-made each year to help fight against the identified strains. This means you’ll need to have the flu jab each year to be protected.
The flu vaccine is the best protection against catching the flu. However, the flu vaccine won’t protect 100% but it will help you reduce the risk of getting the flu. Even if you have the jab and still get the flu, it’s likely to less severe and easier to recover from than if you hadn’t had the jab.
You can get your flu jab from your GP or from a pharmacy with the flu jab service.
So, it’s well worth getting the flu vaccine.
Who should have the flu jab?
Anyone can have the flu jab.
Having the flu jab will help protect you from catching and spreading the flu. It will also help prevent you from infecting other people in your family.
It’s ok to have the flu jab when pregnant or if you’re taking antibiotics.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have the flu jab?
If you are currently unwell with a fever, you should delay getting the flu jab.
The flu vaccine includes egg products. So, anyone with an egg allergy will need to receive a special egg-free vaccine. Let your pharmacist or GP know if you have an egg-allergy when booking your flu vaccination.
Who is eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS?
The flu vaccine is offered for free for people in high-risk groups. You are in a high-risk group if you are in one of the following categories:
– Adults over the age of 65
– Primary school children
– Children aged between 2 and 3 on 31 August 2019
– Frontline health or social care workers
– Pregnant women
– People with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or chronic heart disease.
Studies increasingly show the benefit of having the flu jab, particularly in the over 65 age group. Having the annual flu jab may reduce the risk of stroke by 24% and reduce the risk of early death in those with high blood pressure by 18%.
Your pharmacist will check if you qualify for a flu vaccination on the NHS. If you don’t qualify for a free flu jab, you can still have the flu jab privately. And you can also get your free flu jab from your pharmacist which may be more convenient than visiting your GP surgery.
When should I have the 2019 flu jab?
The best time to have your flu jab is from early October to the end of November. This is the ideal time but you can have it later during the winter.
What are the flu jab side effects?
The flu jab is a safe and effective method of fighting the flu. If you experience any flu jab side effects, they are likely to be mild.
Following the injected vaccine, the side effects may include:
– Mild fever
– Aching muscles
– Soreness at the site of the injection in your arm
– Loss of appetite
The nasal spray given to children may give different side effects:
– A runny or blocked nose
– Loss of appetite
Serious side effects of the injected flu vaccine are very rare.
Where to get the flu jab in Colchester
Dedham Pharmacy is located on the High Street, Dedham and is dedicated to serving the population of Colchester, Boxted, Langley and surrounding areas.