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The Importance of Getting the Flu Jab

Flu is an unpredictable virus that in most people will cause a mild or unpleasant illness. However, the virus is known to cause severe illness among vulnerable groups including the elderly, pregnant women and those living with underlying health conditions.

Those that are likely to catch the flu, particularly in colder months, are also prone to developing serious complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. In some extreme cases, these diseases have been known to be fatal, which is why vulnerable people are advised to have the flu jab each year.

For otherwise healthy people, the flu can certainly be unpleasant, however, the flu jab is not required. Most people will recover from both the flu within a week or two.

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What is the Difference Between the Flu and a Cold?

Although both the cold and flu share very similar symptoms, they are actually caused by two different viruses, with the flu coming on much more quickly with symptoms that are more severe.

The common cold tends to last a couple of days with symptoms such as sinus problems, earache, sneezing and a sore throat. Although it’s uncommon, people may also experience a headache.

The flu on the other hand, can cause muscle aches, a high fever, a dry chesty cough, the chills and sweats as the fever comes and goes. You may also experience a stuffy or runny nose, a headache and a sore throat. The Flu is likely to make a person feel weak and fatigued for some weeks.

Who Should Have the Flu Vaccine?

Thanks to the NHS, the flu vaccine is offered free of charge to those at risk, ensuring they are protected against catching the flu and developing more serious conditions.

You are eligible to receive a free flu jab if you:

  • are aged over 65
  • are pregnant
  • have certain medical conditions
  • are living in a residential care home or long-stay care facility
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

Outbreaks of flu can often occur in health and social care settings, and, because flu is so contagious, staff, patients and residents are all at risk of infection. That means, those that work in front-line health and social care are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine, however, it is your employer’s responsibility to arrange payment for this.  For more advice on the flu vaccination for health and social care workers, visit the NHS website here: flu vaccination of health and social care workers (PDF, 223kb).

Nurses and healthcare assistants can often become run down due to long working hours and with A&E departments and care homes becoming busier over the winter months, this isn’t likely to change. With healthcare workers feeling more run down and tired, their immune system is weakened and the chances of catching the flu are higher.

As mentioned above, those living with a medical condition may also be eligible for the flu jab. This includes those with:

  • A chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • A chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • A chronic kidney disease or liver disease
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • A BMI of 40 or above

Is there Anyone Who Shouldn’t Have the Flu Jab?

Although there are not many instances where it isn’t recommended to get the flu jab, we thought we would make you aware of the rare situations in which you shouldn’t.

People who have egg allergy may be at increased risk of a reaction to the injectable flu vaccine because some flu jabs have been made using eggs, however, flu jabs that are egg-free have become available in recent years. If you can’t find an egg-free flu vaccine, there may be ones available that have low egg content – if you’re unsure, ask your GP for help.

If you are ill with a fever, it is advised to delay your flu vaccination until you have recovered. If you are ill with a common cold, there is no need to delay your jab.

The Importance of Getting the Flu Jab

With 2017 looking to be the harshest winter in years, here is why we think it’s important you get the flu jab:

Keeps you, and those around you safe during winter

Although you can take measures to prevent the flu, it’s still something that is incredibly easy to pass along. Getting the flu vaccination means that you’re helping to reduce the likelihood of the disease spreading, helping keep those that are unable to get the jab protected too.

Helps prevent the development of diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis

In serious cases the flu can develop into more serious diseases, so receiving the flu jab annual is one way to aid the prevention of these developing.  As these diseases can result in death in the worst cases, it’s something that is incredibly important for those that are vulnerable, especially during the colder months.

It can free up beds in hospital A&E departments

During Winter the NHS face pressure when it comes to beds as with an increased amount of people being admitted due to flu-like symptoms, space quickly becomes limited. If you’re eligible for the flu vaccination, having it could mean you help free up space in your local hospital during their busiest period.

Here at Mangar Health, we understand the importance of staying at home while ill as people feel much better in their own home as opposed to having long stays in a hospital. It may be that elderly and vulnerable people that are living with frail skin need specialist equipment to be discharged from hospital as they are prone to pressure sores, which is where the Ekamove patient turner comes in.

The Ekamove is a non-intrusive way to allow people to stay in their own home as it automatically turns patients to a pre-programmed degree level at designated times. This means that for those that need bed rest while recovering from the flu can recover at home.

For more information on how Mangar Health can help you during the winter months, get in touch here.  

To learn more about the Ekamove visit the Mangar Health website here.



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