Have your flu jab and stay well this winter
Joining the fight against flu, Gloucestershire County Council is encouraging everyone in the county to get vaccinated if they are at risk.
Flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the nose, mouth, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs and those suffering with it often feel a fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue. It's easily transmitted and anyone can catch it, even people with mild or no symptoms can still infect others.
For otherwise healthy people recovery is within two to seven days, but it can be a really serious illness for some.
In support of the national seasonal flu campaign, jointly led by Public Health England and NHS England, Gloucestershire County Council is offering a free flu jab to its frontline staff to protect themselves and those that they care for from flu.
The council is offering the jab to these staff because they provide essential services direct to the public and regularly come into contact with vulnerable people.
A quick and safe vaccination is already available for free on the NHS for those most at risk from the virus. This includes people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, and diabetes, and anyone with a weakened immune system.
All two to four year olds and children of school years one and two are also eligible for the vaccination.
Vaccinating children means that not only are the children protected, but transmission across the population can also be reduced. For children the vaccine is given as a nasal spray so parents and guardians are encouraged to make a GP appointment and be sure their children are protected.
Cllr Andrew Gravells, cabinet member for public health said, ""The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you will need another one this year to stay protected."
"For most people who are otherwise fit and healthy, flu is unpleasant but not hugely serious, however for some people it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse, so we're urging anyone at risk of flu to have the vaccination.
"We offer the seasonal flu jab to our front line staff and firefighters as they meet members of the public every day so protecting them against flu helps them, and the people around them."
The flu vaccination doesn't contain the 'live' virus so it can't give you the flu. If you're in any of the 'at risk' groups, the vaccine is free of charge and it's a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes.
The free NHS flu jab is widely available in pharmacies across England and Wales making it even more convenient for people to protect themselves again flu.
If you are at risk of flu and you haven't already been invited for your vaccination, contact your GP surgery to arrange an appointment. It's quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu.