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Feel like you...don't get flu!

Those of us who have had flu will know how terrible it can make you feel. And for some, it can be fatal. This year, for the first time, all pregnant women will be offered the seasonal flu vaccination. This is because it protects against the H1N1 virus (swine flu) that will still be circulating this winter, and pregnant women who catch this strain are at an increased risk of severe disease and flu-related hospital admissions.

For people aged under-65, ask your GP about a flu jab if you have any of these conditions:

  • Heart or chest condition
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke, or transient ischaemic attack (ITA)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) or a condition affecting your nervous system
  • A problem with, or removal of, your spleen

Even if your condition is stable and under control, or you are fit and well, flu could make it worse. Ask your GP about the flu jab.

For people aged 65 and over

Everybody aged 65 and over are entitled, and encouraged to take up their annual flu jab. Flu is much more serious than a cold. It can lead to serious complications, hospitalisation and even death.

A bit about the jab...

The flu jab lasts for up to 12 months, so you need a new one each year. You cannot catch flu from the flu jab - the virus within the jab is inactive and allows your body to develop antibodies so that you're protected should you come into contact with the active virus (e.g. if you come into close contact with somebody who has flu symptoms).

Cold? Flu? Take care...not antibiotics

If antibiotics are not used appropriately then there is a risk of developing antibiotic resistant bacteria, a good example of this would be the well known MRSA strain.

Key facts about antibiotics:

  • Antibiotics are medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria
  • Antibiotics work by killing bacteria and/or preventing their growth
  • Colds and coughs are caused by viruses, not bacteria so antibiotics will not help
  • If you take antibiotics when you don't need them, they may lose their ability to kill bacteria

Be ready for the expected!

The average person with a common cold will recover within 2 weeks and a sore throat will recover within 1 week. Antibiotics do not speed up recovery. Pop into your local pharmacy and speak to the pharmacist about how to help control your cold symptoms.