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Health column: Stay healthy this winnter

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 December 2017

Archant

Winter is on its way and it’s time to get protected against flu.

As a local GP, I want to encourage all patients who are entitled to a free flu vaccine to make sure they get it as part of keeping healthy this winter.

Flu is a highly contagious viral infection and most common over the winter period. Anyone can catch flu and getting a flu jab or nasal spray is one of the most effective ways to reduce potential harm from the virus.

The vaccination is offered for free to those at increased risk from the effects of flu. This includes:

• children aged two to eight

• people aged 65 and over

• pregnant women

• people with long-term health conditions

• carers

• front line health and social care workers

Nationally and locally there are concerns regarding the likelihood of a flu outbreak this winter and the obvious pressures this will put on the local health and social care system. It is important everyone who is eligible for the flu vaccination takes up the offer.

This year we’re encouraging more healthy children to get the vaccination to help prevent the virus spreading to other vulnerable people. A quick and painless nasal spray vaccination is available for children and it does not contain the live flu virus, so they definitely cannot catch the flu from it. To get your vaccine or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife for more information.

Visit nhs.uk/staywell for more information on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.

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