The thing to do to avoid flu

A patient receiving the seasonal flu vaccine.
A patient receiving the seasonal flu vaccine.
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PEOPLE at risk from flu are being urged to make getting their jab a top priority.

Health chiefs are reminding the elderly and others vulnerable to flu to ensure they are protected.

The region’s annual NHS flu vaccination campaign will start next month and GPs will be writing to eligible patients and carers with their reminders.

Dr Tricia Cresswell, deputy medical director at NHS North East, said: “As people get back to work after the summer break, it is important that those who are at risk from flu remember to get their jab to ensure they are protected.

“If you think you are eligible for a jab and haven’t heard from your GP by mid-September, then the best thing to do is contact your GP practice.

“Over the past few years we’ve all seen just how serious flu can be, with people of all ages needing hospital treatment, many in intensive care. We don’t want anyone to get ill from something which can be avoided.”

Anyone who has recently moved house or changed doctors and is eligible for the free flu jab is being advised to check with their new practice. This is particularly important for the main carers of older or disabled people as these cannot be identified through medical records.

Echo columnist Dr Ashley Liston is a GP at the Encompass Healthcare in Washington.

He said: “Influenza remains a potentially very serious illness, especially for at risk groups.

“All GP practices are starting to organise their flu campaigns with a variety of approaches including booked appointments, open clinics and flu vaccination days.

“It is a safe and highly effective way of avoiding an illness that at best is unpleasant but at worst can be fatal.”

Who needs the jab?

* All pregnant women.

* Anyone aged over 65.

* Anyone who lives in a residential or nursing home.

* Anyone over six months with a long term health problem such as diabetes, chest problem or breathing difficulties, such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema; heart problem; kidney disease or liver disease; neurological condition such as Parkinson’s or motor neurone disease; problem with the spleen such as sickle cell disease, or if the spleen has been removed; having suffered a stroke; undergoing treatment such as cancer treatment; if you live with someone at risk you may also be eligible for a free vaccination.