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Flu - what you need to know

Flu occurs every winter in the UK and is a key factor in NHS winter pressures. It impacts on those who become ill, the NHS services that provide direct care, and on the wider health and social care system that supports people in at-risk groups.

Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

  • anyone aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease)
  • children and adults with weakened immune systems

Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of Flu, such as pneumonia  (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to protect them. 

The injected flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS annually to various groups including the over 65s. Find out more about flu and the vaccination via the NHS website here; 

Please consult you GP Surgery if you would like more information about your local vaccination programme.

Hospital staff play a key role preventing the spread of flu. 

At James Paget University Hospital the uptake of the Flu vaccine in 2015 was below the national average. Only 43% of staff were vaccinated against flu, but a real effort has been made over the past few years to increase this and last year - 2019-20 -more than 80% of staff had the vaccination, more than ever before. 

To make our flu clinics more accessible we hold them during the day, early in the morning and in the evenings to allow staff to visit before, during or after their shift.

In addition to these we have also created mobile clinics and have flu champions in wards and departments to vaccinate staff at a convenient time.

Watch our flu video, presented by James Paget Chief Pharmacist Chris Street here;