Living with a long term condition can be very challenging and unfortunately can cause you to be more vulnerable to the winter flu infection.

If you have a long term condition – maybe heart failure, or breathing difficulties, you might be having treatment for cancer or living with a condition like

Parkinson’s – if you catch flu it puts you at greater risk of more serious outcomes. The flu virus can make the effects of existing conditions worse, making it harder to manage existing symptoms and can lead to complications.

Prevention is always our preferred option, so if you are invited by your GP to have the flu vaccine please make sure you take up the offer – it could help prevent severe illness and potential hospital admissions.Don’t be tempted to think I had it last year so I’ll be ok this year.

It is vital that those who are eligible receive the vaccine annually as it protects against different strains of flu which can change or evolve each year.

As a GP for 30 years I have found that many people who could have had the flu did not pick up the virus after having the vaccine. It doesn’t just protect you; it also protects those around you.

If you do get the flu after vaccination it is also likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it otherwise might have been.

Practices are working differently this year to ensure covid-19 safety, so if you usually get your vaccine at your surgery, please look out for plans from your team there; they’ll be getting in touch to tell you when and where to go, either by letter, text or by phone.

The arrangements are likely to be different to ensure social distancing so you’ll need to know what your practice has planned. You can check for information on their website and social media too.

If you are offered, please get the jab and do what you can to stay well. This year it is more important than ever.


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