Emma Hammett A qualified nurse, author and first aid trainer with over 30 years’ healthcare and teaching experience Boots starts offering their vaccinations this week. This year there is an improved flu vaccine (which also boosts the immune system for older people) and this is the one we are being offered in the UK this
Boots starts offering
their vaccinations this week. This year there is an improved flu vaccine (which
also boosts the immune system for older people) and this is the one we are
being offered in the UK this coming winter.
This is particularly
good news for older people since adults over the age of 65 are more likely to
catch flu and develop complications from it.
Older people also tend
to have a slower immune system and this is why the enhanced vaccine has been
designed to boost the body’s immune response to the vaccine.
flu season for seven years
This ‘adjuvanted’ flu
jab comes in response to last year’s large increase in deaths from the
According to Public Health
England the number of deaths from flu in 2017 was 15,000 – almost double the
Figures also suggest
flu accounted for a staggering 1-in-3 admissions to hospital last winter. It
was the UK’s worst flu season for seven years.
Experts hope the
‘adjuvanted’ vaccine has the potential to prevent at least 700 deaths, avoid
2,000 hospital visits and 30,000 GP appointments.
The new vaccine for
the over-65’s vaccine protects against 3 main types of flu. Those under 65 who
are also in the at-risk groups, will be offered a vaccine against four types of
Who should be
The vaccine will be
offered to 24 million people for free, this includes those over 65, sole carers
and care workers.
You are entitled to a
free flu vaccine if you are under 65 and have one of the following long-term
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or breathing
difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
- kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or
treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
- liver disease
- had a stroke or a transient ischaemic
- a neurological condition, e.g. multiple
sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy or learning disability
- a problem with your spleen, e.g. sickle
cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
- are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and
However anyone can pay
for the vaccine and it is a sensible jab to get!
to get the vaccine:
Superdrug, Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy, Asda and Tesco.
to get the vaccine?
The new vaccines will
be rolled out in the UK from early September.
Immunity takes a
couple of weeks to build up, so it is important to get vaccinated as early as
possible and before the beginning of flu season.
However Public Health
England stress it is never too late to be vaccinated.
Flu is a highly infectious
disease and symptoms usually appear very quickly. It causes fever, chills,
headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.
usually recover within two to seven days, but it has the potential to be very
serious, in some cases leading to people requiring admission to hospital,
permanent disability and even fatality.
What causes flu?
affecting your respiratory system cause flu, and unlike bacterial infections,
viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. In some cases, however,
antibiotics are prescribed if there are additional opportunist bacteria that
cause complications and need treating.
How do you catch flu
and can I avoid it?
Flu virus is spread
liberally in tiny droplets of saliva released when someone infected with the
virus coughs or sneezes. These droplets can then be inhaled by others or people
are infected by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed. The virus can
survive on surfaces for many hours.
In order to prevent
the spread of the virus ensure that you cover your mouth and nose when you
cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your face in a public environment such as
a bus or train, use hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus while
out and wash your hands regularly.
Although, the best way
to protect yourself against flu is by having a flu vaccination before flu
What to do if you
suspect you have flu:
There is no need to
visit your GP if you are suffering from flu as there is nothing they can do to
help you fight it. However, if you develop complications or are seriously
worried please phone the surgery and get additional medical advice.
The key advice to
recover as quickly as possible is:
Rest and sleep
Take paracetamol or
ibuprofen to treat aches and pains as well as lower your temperature.
Drink plenty of water
and avoid dehydration (urine should be pale yellow or clear)
Pharmacists can give treatment advice and recommend flu remedies that can help you to feel better.
Written by Emma
Hammett for First Aid for Life
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