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OVER 65s AND VULNERABLE URGED TO GET FLU AND PNEUMOCOCCAL JABS

October 26, 2005 3:13 PM

NHS Greater Glasgow Public Health officials are urging eligible Greater Glasgow residents to get their flu and pneumococcal jabs.

If you are over the age of 65 or have an illness or condition that makes you more vulnerable to bugs, contact your GP and ask him or her about getting immunised against flu and pneumococcal infection.

Dr Syed Ahmed, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Greater Glasgow, said: "Flu is a highly infectious illness that, for the majority of healthy people, can be a nasty illness that can leave them feeling unwell for days.

"However, it can also cause serious complications in some people, particularly those who are older and those with some sort of chronic illness."

Who can get the flu and pneumococcal jabs?
Vaccinations are recommended for ALL 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.

Do I have to pay?
This service is free of charge.

What are the symptoms of flu?
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.

What is pneumococcal infection?
Pneumococcal infection is an illness which can result in pneumonia, blood poisoning and a form of meningitis.  It is spread by coughing and sneezing.

Dr Ahmed added: "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 and pneumococcal jab. It might just save their life!"

Last year, NHS Greater Glasgow saw an uptake of just over 70% of   people aged 65 and over being vaccinated against flu - achieving the national target of 70%. However this means another 29% of eligible people missing out of the benefits of these vaccines. This year, we want that figure to be higher.

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