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OVER 65S AND AT RISK URGED TO GET FLU VACCINE

November 16, 2004 10:10 AM

IF you are 65 plus or in an 'at risk' group and haven't yet been vaccinated against flu, contact your GP today.

That's the message from NHS Greater Glasgow's public health team, who are keen to see as many eligible people take advantage of the free service as possible.

Dr Syed Ahmed, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Greater Glasgow, said: "Like the rest of Scotland, we experienced some problems with supplies of flu vaccine in early October. Alternative supplies have been found and there should be plenty of vaccine available for those who need it.

"For the majority of healthy people, flu is a nasty illness that can leave them feeling very ill for days.
 
"However, for others, especially those who are older or who have some sort of chronic illness, flu can lead to very serious complications including pneumococcal infection which can result in pneumonia, blood poisoning and a form of meningitis.

"We would urge anyone over the age of 65 or in the at risk group to contact their GP today and arrange to get their flu jab. It might just save their life!"

Last year, NHS Greater Glasgow saw an uptake of 69% of eligible people being vaccinated against flu - nearly matching the national target of 70%. This year, we want that figure to be higher.

So who is eligible for the flu jab? Vaccinations are recommended for people who are aged 65 or over or for adults and children who are deemed to be 'at risk', including those who have:
* Chronic heart complaints;
* Asthma;
* Chronic kidney disease;
* Diabetes;
* Lowered immunity due to disease;
* No spleen or splenic dysfunction;
* Or are taking medication such as steroids and cancer treatments.
So what are the symptoms of flu to look out for? These include fever, shivering, muscle aches, tiredness and sore ears. In very young children, flu can manifest itself as irritability and vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

If you haven't been vaccinated and experience flu-like symptoms, Dr Ahmed advises you seek advice from your local pharmacist or GP.

For children, Dr Ahmed advises that they stay off school or nursery, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol or aspirin/ibuprofen to lower body temperature. Aspirin should not be given to children under the age of 16.

"If a parent is worried about a child's condition or if a symptom lasts longer than four to five days, they should contact their GP," he added.


ENDS
Press information: 0141 201 4429.

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