AS the cold nights begin to draw in, health chiefs are advising Wearsiders to get their flu jabs and prevent illness from spreading.
The NHS’s national flu campaign aims to encourage uptake of the vaccination from key groups who are eligible to receive it for free – those under 65 with a long-term health condition, pregnant women and children aged two to four years old.
Flu is a highly infectious illness which spreads rapidly in closed communities and even people with mild or no symptoms can infect others.
Droplets of saliva and sweat can then be breathed in by other people or they can be picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed.
In rare cases, the illness can be deadly.
Sunderland Royal Hospital’s chief executive Ken Bremner and the hospital’s medical director Ian Martin have both had their jabs.
“Flu immunisation is one of the most effective ways to prevent flu and so reduce the potential harm it can cause,” said Anna Porter, occupational health and wellbeing manager at City Hospitals Sunderland.
“For most healthy people, it is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease with recovery generally within a week.
“However, older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with underlying disease, particularly chronic respiratory or cardiac disease, or those who have a weakened immune system, are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu.
“Flu vaccination is not only effective in stopping you catching flu, but also good at stopping you passing it on to vulnerable people, particularly the elderly.”