Senior medical staff at Epsom and St Helier hospitals are urging members of the public to have their flu vaccine this winter, particularly those who live with children, the elderly or those with long term health conditions.
This year, to help get the message across about just how important the vaccine is, the Trust have created a video starring children from the onsite nurseries (where children of staff are cared for) as well as staff members from a range of different disciplines. The video is lighthearted and funny – stylized as a spoof horror movie trailer – but carries with it a serious message, that the flu is dangerous, and that the vaccine is the best way to protect against it. You can watch the video on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFCG1hrlNhs. The video is already proving to be a hit, and even broadcaster Jeremy Vine is a fan!
For most people, flu is a very unpleasant but not serious illness. However, for people considered 'at risk' – including pregnant women and the over 65s – the impact can be devastating. Anyone in these high risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious – and in rare circumstances, fatal – complications of flu, such as pneumonia.
Dr James Marsh, Joint Medical Director, said: "Each year, thousands of people across the UK get flu and, if you've ever had it, you'll know it's not nice. Having flu is not like having a heavy cold and it can last for at least a week, if not more. And, it's highly contagious, with people easily passing it on to family, friends and work colleagues.”
James added: "For people in at risk groups, flu can be very serious. That includes older people, those with weakened immune systems, and people with long-term medical conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.
“The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu is by having the flu vaccine. It's quick, simple and it doesn't hurt much. Having the jab is certainly more pleasant than having flu. This year, the vaccine is also quadrivalent – meaning that it covers four different strains of flu, improving its effectiveness."
The symptoms of flu:
- Sudden fever – a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above
- Dry, chesty cough
- Aching muscles
- Limb or joint pain
- Diarrhoea or upset stomach.
Symptoms will usually peak after two to three days and you should begin to feel much better within five to eight days. However, you may have a lingering cough and still feel very tired for a further two to three weeks. The flu vaccine only lasts for a year, so if you had a jab last year, you will need another one to stay flu safe. The jab doesn't contain the 'live' virus so it cannot give you the flu.
Simply contact your GP or local pharmacist to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab out of the way – it's quick, simple and free for those in at risk groups. You can find out more about the flu jab by visiting: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/.