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Influenza (flu) prevention

If you're 65 and over, it's vital that you have your seasonal flu vaccination. Flu is not simply a bad cold – and it can increase your risk of more serious illness. Even if the weather's mild, flu is in season throughout winter. Getting the jab jab will help protect you at the time of the year when you are most vulnerable.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

沙巴体育app Read our information on what to do if you're feeling unwell, simple steps to take to protect yourself and others, and the latest information from the Government.

How to stay healthy this winter

沙巴体育app It can be harder to keep well in the winter months as we age. We've got lots of ideas to help you feel your best, whatever the weather.

Why should I have the flu jab?

沙巴体育appAs we age, our immune system becomes weaker and less able to fight off viruses. Even fit and healthy older people are more vulnerable to catching the flu, and at a greater risk of having serious complications from the flu compared to when they were younger. These complications could include developing bronchitis or pneumonia. Catching flu can also make some existing conditions worse.

沙巴体育appEven if it's a mild winter, flu is in season. So it's important to have an annual flu jab if you're aged 65 or over. And if you care for someone who is 65 or over, or eligible for the flu vaccine for another reason, you can also get the flu vaccine for free. This helps protect you and the person you care for.

Who can have a free flu jab?

The NHS provides a free flu jab if:

  • you're aged 65 and over
  • you have certain health conditions such as a heart problem, a chronic breathing problem, diabetes, chronic kidney/liver disease, Parkinson's disease or motor neurone disease.
  • you've had a stroke or mini-stroke
  • you have a weakened immune system
  • you care for an older person who may be put at risk if you fall ill
  • you are a healthcare worker in the NHS (your employer will provide the jab for you)
  • you are a frontline care worker, including people who work in domiciliary care and care homes.

Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you think you could be eligible.

Carers and care workers should get the flu vaccine to reduce the risk of spreading the flu - and can get it for free from their GP or a pharmacy.

When should I have the flu jab?

Most surgeries and pharmacists start to offer the jab in late September or early October. It takes up to 14 days for the vaccine to take effect, so it's best to have it as early as possible.

But the flu season lasts until the end of March, so it's well worth protecting yourself up until then.

I had a seasonal flu jab last year. Do I need one this year?

沙巴体育appFlu is a highly infectious disease caused by viruses that are always changing.

You need a flu jab every year because a new vaccine is produced to target those viruses most likely to be in circulation during the coming winter.

Where do I go for my flu jab?

沙巴体育appYou can have your flu jab at:

  • your GP surgery
  • a local pharmacy offering the service.

Do I need the pneumo jab?

The ‘pneumo’ (or pneumococcal) jab is a one-off jab that helps protect you against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia (a type of blood poisoning).

Ask your GP about it if you’re aged 65 and over and haven’t had one.

Flu jabs

Julie Banks speaks to Sheelagh Donovan from Age UK to find out more about flu jabs for this winter.

Can the flu jab make me ill?

The flu vaccine can take up to two weeks to become fully effective, so during this time it's still possible to catch the flu.

It is also possible to catch the flu before you get the jab, but not be aware of it. It can then look like the flu jab has given you the flu, but you may actually have been carrying the virus already. The injected flu vaccine given to older adults cannot give you flu as it does not contain live viruses.

And remember – the flu vaccine only protects against flu, not colds and other illnesses, so it is a good idea to take precautions such as washing your hands regularly, to keep yourself as well as possible during winter.

For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602.
We’re open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.

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Last updated: May 18 2020

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