Flu season is here again; it is a big problem in the winter and the World Health Organization estimates that between 5 and 10% of adults catch flu each year. For most people flu is an unpleasant illness that lasts for up to a week. However in some people flu can cause serious complications, including bronchitis and pneumonia.
The flu vaccination helps prevent flu. It is not 100% effective against all strains, however if someone does contract flu it is likely to be shorter lived and milder than it would have been otherwise. It also helps to prevent transmission to others. The vaccine changes every year to combat the common strains that winter, and so those who are eligible for the flu vaccine need it every year. Serious side effects of the injected flu vaccine are very rare and there are few people who cannot have it.
You may know that the flu vaccination is recommended for those over 65 and those with long term medical conditions. However you are also eligible for a free flu vaccination if you receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill.
You can get your free flu jab from your GP, or it is available in some community pharmacies. For more information about the flu vaccination and contraindications see the NHS choices website.