Posted: Mon 17th Dec 2018

Public warned to protect themselves against flu this festive season

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Dec 17th, 2018

With the Christmas period fast approaching, health professionals across Wales are urging all those eligible to have their flu vaccine as soon as possible, to help them stay flu-free this winter.

Recent figures show that over 58% of people under the age of 65 in an at risk group in North Wales have not yet had their vaccine – a situation that could potentially lead to serious health complications at a time of year when we all want to avoid being ill.

Flu spreads very easily, and with the likelihood of large groups of people meeting up over the Christmas period for parties and family get-togethers, the risk of spreading the virus is even greater.

The flu virus spreads via droplets, which are sprayed into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with contaminated hands or surfaces can also spread infection. It can spread rapidly.

Teresa Owen, Executive Director of Public Health at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is urging people in risk groups to make sure they get their vaccine as soon as possible:

“For most healthy people, influenza (or ‘flu’) is usually an unpleasant illness, which normally means a few miserable days at home in bed.

“However, for people over 65 years of age, pregnant women, those in other risk groups such as people with diabetes, chest or heart conditions or a BMI over 40, flu is much more likely to result in serious complications, and can even be life threatening. Sadly, flu kills people every year.

“Currently we are seeing low levels of flu but the numbers of cases usually increase between now and Christmas – so it’s important to get your vaccine, there is still time to get that protection.”

“We’d like to thank the 40.5% of people who have a long term chest condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma for protecting themselves and others by having their jab.  For those who have not yet had their jab, there’s still time to get protected!”

Flu vaccination remains the best way to protect against catching or spreading flu, and can be given from 6 months of age. It is also strongly recommended for all pregnant women, at any time within their pregnancy.

All children aged two and three years old on 31 August 2018, and children in reception class and years 1-6 in school are also being offered protection with a nasal spray flu vaccine.

The two and three year olds will have their nasal spray vaccine at their GP surgery and primary school children will be offered their nasal spray vaccine at school.

The annual flu vaccination is also recommended for carers, who can access the vaccine via their GP surgery or local community pharmacy.

This year, staff who work in adult care homes are also eligible for a free flu vaccination via their local pharmacy.

Health Board staff should contact their local vaccinator or the Occupational Health Department for their flu jab – it’s not too late to protect the patients under your care.

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