Public health bosses have urged residents throughout North Lincolnshire to get their flu vaccination before the winter months set in.
Cold weather can be harmful to health, especially more vulnerable people such as the elderly and young children.
Flu is an unpleasant illness, though if you are healthy, it is not serious and you will usually recover within a week or two.
However, for some, catching flu increases the risk of potentially serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
It is therefore recommended by North Lincolnshire Council, which is responsible for public health, that people protect themselves against the flu virus, particularly for people who come into contact with those who may be vulnerable and for those at highest risk.
This would include people who work with vulnerable people such as health and social care staff, social workers and teaching staff.
The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to those at risk, including those aged 65 years old and over, all pregnant women and those aged from six months to less than 65 years who have a serious medical condition (check with your pharmacist or GP to see if you are eligible).
Also eligible are those who are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility and people who receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if they fall ill.
Health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care or nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients or clients, are also eligible.
Health and wellbeing
And those who are not eligible to have a free vaccine can get their vaccination at local pharmacies for a small cost.
A list of all pharmacies in Scunthorpe and across North Lincolnshire offering this service and their opening times is available at www.nhs.uk/service-search/Pharmacy and the cost of a flu jab ranges from £7 to £13 depending on the pharmacy.
The children’s flu vaccine is offered as yearly nasal spray to young children to help protect them against the flu. The vaccine is available free on the NHS for children.
Flu strains can change each year, meaning a new vaccination is needed each year.
Councillor Richard Hannigan, the authority’s deputy leader and cabinet member for adults, health and wellbeing, said: “The council is committed to helping support and improve health across North Lincolnshire and cannot stress enough how important it is for residents to get the vaccine.
“We can all benefit from getting the flu vaccine to help protect our own health and minimise the risk of others who are more vulnerable.
“Whatever your health, don’t put off getting the vaccine. Flu is easily spread and even those with mild symptoms can still pass it on to others.”
The vaccine is available through GPs for those who are classed as in the “at risk” group and there are a number of pharmacies who also offer the vaccination.
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