NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are urging local residents who are vulnerable to the effects of flu to make an appointment with their GP practice to have an annual flu vaccination to protect them against the virus during the winter months.
Those most at risk to the effects of flu are people aged 65 and over and people of any age who have a long-term medical condition, including asthma; diabetes; lung, heart, liver and kidney disease and serious neurological conditions, e.g. stroke and multiple sclerosis. These people are most likely to develop serious complications as a result of catching flu and are eligible for a free vaccination.
Dr Syed Ahmed, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “For people who are in generally good health, flu is a self limiting illness although it is much more severe than the common cold. However, for those who are ‘at risk’ and older people, flu can lead to serious complications. These people cannot fight flu as effectively so it is vital that they contact their GP now and arrange for a free flu jab.
“I would urge people if they know a family member or friend who falls into one of these ‘at risk’ groups to encourage them to get their flu jab now.
“If you are not sure whether you are eligible, please contact your GP surgery and they would be able to clarify this for you.”
Flu is highly infectious and around 10 to 15 per cent of the UK is affected by flu every year. The virus changes every year so it is necessary for people to have a repeat vaccination every year to provide protection against infection.
Notes to Editors
Flu is highly infectious and spreads rapidly by coughs, sneezes and touching people who are already carrying the virus.
Flu symptoms are a high fever, shivers, headache, aching body and extreme tiredness. A dry cough, sore throat and stuffy nose are also common symptoms and can last about a week.
Flu affects 10-15% of the UK population every year.
The vaccination gives 70-80% protection against infection with flu virus strains that closely match those in the vaccine and lasts for about one year - hence the reason why annual vaccination is required to maintain ongoing protection.
Anyone catching the flu should take painkillers like paracetamol or aspirin to relieve headache and muscle pain, and reduce temperature.
Staying at home, keeping warm, resting and drinking plenty of non-alcoholic liquids will help replace lost fluid and aid recovery more quickly.
Anyone living alone should tell a friend or neighbour they are ill so they have someone checking on them and helping with essential shopping.
Further Information about the flu vaccination is available by visiting www.infoscotland.com/flu
, calling the NHS helpline free on 0800 22 44 88 or texting FLU to 61611 for a free information leaflet.