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Flu clinics




What is flu?

Influenza (flu) is a viral infection that usually strikes between December and March. It can affect people of all ages. It’s much more than a heavy cold. The first signs are headache sore throat and runny nose, aching muscles, fever and shivering. Flu makes you feel completely exhausted and the extreme fatigue may last for one to two weeks.

You can catch flu by inhaling the virus or by handling items touched by an infected person. The symptoms start to develop one to four days later.


You are aged 65 or older.

Death from influenza is most common in the over 65’s – you are more likely to have complications and be admitted to hospital than younger patients.

You’ve had a stroke of transient ischaemic attack.

There is evidence that receiving the annual flu vaccine reduces the risk of a stroke in patients with a history of stroke of transient ischaemic heart attack (also known as a min-stroke).

You have reduced immunity.

If you are receiving chemotherapy or steroid treatment, have no spleen, or if you have HIV/AIDS, your immune system is considerably weakened. Flu will further reduce your capacity to fight infection.

You are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person.

You should receive the flu vaccine if their welfare is at risk if you fall ill.

You have chronic heart disease.

People with flu may experience changes of abnormalities in the rhythm of their heartbeat, which indicates there is a problem with the heart muscles. Studies have indicated that people with heart disease are less likely to have a heart attack if they have a flu jab compared to those that develop flu.

You have diabetes.

The death rate among people with diabetes can increase by between 5% and 15% when there is an influenza outbreak.

You have chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease is made worse by influenza.

You have chronic lung disease or certain types of asthma.

If you get flu, a secondary infection like pneumonia can set in. If you go on to develop pneumonia, the risk of developing further complications would be higher.

You are pregnant.

There is good evidence that pregnant women are at increased risk from complications if they contract flu. There is evidence that flu during pregnancy may be associated with premature birth and smaller birth size and weight. Flu vaccination may reduce the likelihood pf prematurity and smaller infant size at birth associated with influenza infection during pregnancy.

Why should I be concerned about flu?

Most people who get flu recover after two to seven days, but some develop life-threatening complications such as pneumonia or nerve damage. You are more likely to be at risk from the complications of flu if you are one of the ‘at-risk’ groups.

How do I avoid getting flu

The best way to avoid getting flu is to have a flu jab during the autumn – usually between October and November – each year. Flu vaccination is free of charge for people in the ‘at-risk’ groups. You need to have a jab each year to maintain your immunity, as the flu virus is always changing. The jab will NOT stop you getting coughs and colds, but can protect you against the latest strain of flu.

You may have a temporary slight soreness at the injection site. A few people get a slight fever, but this is short-lived.

As the vaccine is made of hens’ eggs, you should not have a flu jab if you allergic to eggs, chicken protein or if you have had a previous allergic reaction to a flu jab. Please advise us at the Practice if this is the case.


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