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Residents encouraged to book their flu jab to Stay Well This Winter

13 November 2017

Medway Council is encouraging residents to become flu fighters to make sure they Stay Well This Winter.

The council is supporting the Stay Well This Winter campaign, an initiative from NHS England and Public Health England to help people look after their health this winter. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to have your annual flu jab. The colder months bring a greater risk of the flu and, following a recent heavy flu season in Australia, residents are being encouraged to have the vaccine.

The Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, Cllr David Brake, Director of Public Health, James Williams, and Director of Children and Adult Services, Ian Sutherland, all became flu fighters when they had their vaccinations at Gun Wharf.

Flu is a highly infectious disease and is much worse than a heavy cold. It occurs every year, usually in the winter, and it is important that residents protect themselves by having the flu vaccine every year.

Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles and extreme tiredness. Most people usually recover between two to seven days but for others the disease can be much more serious and lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or death.

Last year less than half (46.2 per cent) of residents with a long term health condition had their free jab.

Contact your GP or pharmacist to book your vaccination

These residents are among those most at risk of becoming severely unwell if they catch flu. If you are in one of the groups below, contact your GP or pharmacist to book your free vaccination.

• People aged 65 and older
• People with long term health conditions including diabetes, severe asthma, long term problems with the heart, liver, kidney or breathing problems or problems with the nervous system
• Pregnant women
• Carers
• Children aged two and three (by nasal spray)
• People living in residential care homes
• Individuals with learning disabilities

'Make sure you are protected'

James Williams, Medway Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “As the flu virus changes every year it is extremely important to get your annual vaccination to make sure you are protected against the latest strain. Getting the vaccination early is the best thing you can do to protect yourself, your family, friends and colleagues this winter.”

'The jab only takes a few minutes'

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder in charge of Public Health, said: “Flu is extremely unpleasant and easily spread so I would particularly encourage parents of two and three year olds to book a flu vaccination for their children. The jab only takes a few minutes so I would urge residents to book their flu vaccination now, for a healthy winter.”

For tips of how to stay well this winter in Medway, visit www.medway.gov.uk/winter and click on keep warm and healthy. For more information about flu, visit www.medway.gov.uk/flu.