Flu and the Flu Vaccine
Flu is a highly infectious illness that spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus.
If you're at risk of complications from flu, make sure you have your annual flu jab available from September onwards.
Flu symptoms can hit quite suddenly and severely. They usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles. You can often get a cough and sore throat.
Because flu is caused by a virus and not bacteria, antibiotics won't treat it.
Anyone can get flu, but it can be more serious for certain people, such as:
- people aged 65 or over
- people who have a serious medical condition
- pregnant women
If you are in one of these groups, you're more vulnerable to the effects of flu (even if you're fit and healthy) and could develop flu complications, which are more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which could result in hospitalisation.
Flu can also make existing medical conditions worse.
Flu Campaign 2019
This year there are going to be three types of flu vaccine.
A flu vaccine for people who will be aged 65 or over on the 31st March 2020.
A flu vaccine for anyone with a qualifying condition who will be 64 or younger on the 31st March 2020.
A nasal flu vaccine for anyone who will be 17 or under on the 31st March 2020
The reason for having two different adult vaccinations is because the immune response to vaccination dimishes with age. This is why in some years the flu vaccination has not given as much protection to the population as we would hope. Therefore the two vaccinations produce an immune response in a slightly different way and should maximise the immune response of everyone who receives it. Read more about the flu vaccination
Due to there being different flu vaccines for different patients we are changing how we do the flu clinics this year. Firstly there will be separate clinics for 65's and over and under 65's. Secondly we are going to split the over 65 clinics up alphabetically. The reason we have changed to an alphabet based system is to try and even up the numbers in all the flu clinics that we run as in previous years some are much busier than others.
Clinics will be held at Northiam on the following days for patients 65 AND OVER
No appointment is needed
All Surgeries between 2 and 3.30
All patients Wednesday 20th November
Obviously if you can't make the clinic slot appropriate to your name you are welcome to come to one of the other ones at either surgery
Patients who are 64 and under can attend either of the clinics listed below please call to make an appointment
Thursday 10th October from 4.30 to 5.30
Tuesday 19th November from 4.30 - 5.30
Tuesday 3rd December from 4:30 -5:30
Broad Oak Clinics will be held on the following days and will also be split alphabetically and by age
Clinics for patients age 65 AND OVER - For these clinics no appointment is necessary.
Both clinics are between 2 and 3
Surnames N-Z Wednesday 2nd October
Surnames A-M Wednesday 6th November
Patients who are 64 and under can attend the clinic listed below at Broad Oak or are welcome to come to the under 65 clinics at Northiam please call to make an appointment
Wednesday 16th October 4.30 - 5.30
Wednesday 30th October 4.30 - 5.30
Childrens Flu Clinics
Preschool children age 2, 3 and 4 can receive the nasal flu clinic at the surgery. Children who are in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be offered the vaccination at school.
We will be doing clinics for the preschool children on the following days by appointment
Please call to make an appointment
Flu Vaccine - Q&A
Should you have the flu jab?
You are elligible for a flu jab if youre 65 or over, or if you have any of the following problems (however old you are):
- a serious heart complaint
- achest complaint or breathing difficulties,including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema
- serious kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment such as steroid medication or cancertreatment
- if you have a problem with your spleen or you have had your spleen removed
- if you have ever had a stroke
Your GP may advise you to have a flu jab if you have serious liver disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or some other diseases of the nervous system.
Pregnant women and the flu jab
If you're pregnant, you should have the flu jab, regardless of the stage of pregnancy you've reached. Pregnant women are more prone to complications from flu that can cause serious illness for both mother and baby.
If you are pregnant and catch flu, talk to your GP urgently as you may need treatment with antiviral medicine.
Read more about the flu jab in pregnancy.
Children and the flu jab
All children who are aged 2, 3 or 4 on the 31st August 2018 are eligible for a flu vaccination at the surgery. This is given via the nose as opposed to an injection. In addition to this children in reception, year 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 should also be offered it at their school. For more information read our flu vaccine for children Q&A.
Carers and the flu jab
If youre the carer of an elderly or disabled person, make sure theyve had their flu jab. As a carer, you could be eligible for a flu jab too. Ask your GP for advice, or read our information about Flu jabs for carers.
How to get the flu jab
If you think you need a flu vaccination please see the list of clinics above.
The pneumonia jab
When you see your GP for a flu jab, ask whether you also need the 'pneumo jab' to protect you against some forms of pneumococcal infection. Like the flu jab, its available free on the NHS to everyone aged 65 or over, and for younger people with some serious medical conditions. You only need to have this vaccination once
How effective is the flu jab?
No vaccine is 100% effective, however, people who have had the flu jab are less likely to get flu. If you do get flu despite having the jab, it will probably be milder than if you havent been vaccinated.
The flu jab doesnt cause flu as it doesnt contain live viruses. However, you may experience side effects after having the jab, such as a temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards. Your arm may feel sore at the site where you were injected. More severe reactions are rare.
The flu vaccine only protects against flu, but not other illnesses caused by other viruses, such as the common cold.
Who shouldn't have the flu jab?
You shouldn't have the flu vaccination if:
- you've had a serious reaction to a flu vaccination before
- you have a high temperature (postpone it until you're better)
Not all flu vaccines are suitable for children, so discuss this with your GP beforehand.
Speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist if you have any further questions.
Content provided by NHS Choices.