Dr Jonathan Wells, Chair and Clinical Lead, NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group:
IT’S that time of the year when it’s wise to plan ahead and make sure that you’re prepared for illnesses that commonly affect people over the winter, such as flu.
Symptoms of flu can be very unpleasant and can last for several weeks; they often include a fever, chills, headaches and sore muscles, sometimes accompanied by a cough and sore throat.
If you’re fit and healthy there’s normally no need to see your GP, the best way to treat flu is by staying at home, keeping warm and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. You can also take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches and pains.
There are a number of people though, who could potentially be more seriously affected by flu and are therefore eligible for a free flu vaccination. These at risk groups include:
People aged over 65, people with a serious medical condition, such as a heart complaint, lung disease such as asthma, liver disease or have suffered a stroke, pregnant women, young children.
It’s important that people in these groups get protected, as they are more vulnerable and could develop complications. One way to make sure you’re ready is by having the flu vaccination; GP surgeries have now arranged flu clinics, so contact your GP practice to find out when these are.
It’s also important to remember that you still need to have the vaccination even if you’ve had it in previous years as strains of flu vary from year to year.
More information about flu and the flu vaccination can be found on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/pages/introduction.aspx.
To stay up-to-date, follow @RB_CCG and @RBCCG_Chair on Twitter.