You may have seen in the news that flu is currently on the rise in the UK, with figures showing this is now the worst flu season for seven years.
If you are in an at-risk group, you can protect yourself by having the flu jab. It’s free, so ask your GP, practice nurse or local pharmacist if you:
- are 65 years of age or over
- are pregnant
- have certain medical conditions
- are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- 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
Front line health workers are also encouraged to have the vaccination. Trust staff can find out how to get their jab on Connect.
Don’t let the common flu myths put you off having your jab. Below you can see some flu myths and the facts behind them.
The vaccine gives you the flu
|It's impossible to get flu from the flu vaccine because it doesn’t contain live viruses.|
|I don’t need the flu jab as I’ve had it before||The viruses that cause flu can change every year, so you need a vaccination each year.|
|I have an egg allergy/I am vegan so I can’t have the jab||0.3% of adults have an allergy but the reaction is normally skin irritation. There is an egg-free version with no ovalbumin protein content. Note that most travel vaccines contain egg protein.|
|The vaccine causes Guillane-Barre Syndrome||Guillane-Barre Syndrome has many causes but since global rates do not rise from September to January, it is extremely unlikely to be caused by influenza vaccines.|
|I’m pregnant so I can’t have the flu jab||Pregnant women can have the flu jab at any stage of their pregnancy. The vaccine helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies for up to 6 months after they are born.|
|I am a fit adult, I don’t need the vaccine||
Influenza virus kills fit adults from respiratory distress and cardiac failure. The reason that free flu jabs are offered to staff is because anyone can pick up the virus.
|The flu jab doesn’t work||Studies show that seasonal influenza vaccines give about 70 to 80 per cent protection to healthy adults against infection by influenza virus strains that are well matched with those in the vaccine.|