Flu

Are you pregnant?

If you are pregnant these tips may be useful to help you stay well over winter:

  • The flu jab is the safest way to help protect you and your baby against flu.
  • The flu jab is free if you are pregnant.
  • Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby. You may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming ill as a result of flu.
  • Flu immunisation can take place however many months pregnant you are and however fit and healthy you might feel.

Do you have a child aged 2-3?

  • For children aged 2-3, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray.
  • Flu can be horrible for little children and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family.
  • Children who get flu have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment.
  • The flu vaccine can help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others.

Who else  is eligible?

The flu jab is also free for people who are aged over 65, or have a long term condition, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person.  Young children or grandchildren may also eligible for a free flu jab.  If you have any questions, speak to your GP, pharmacist or health visitor.

Keeping you and your family well

Winter can be bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or over, and for people with long term conditions such as  COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma and diabetes.   Cold and damp weather can aggravate any existing health problems.

What can you do to stay well this winter?

  • If you’re feeling unwell, don’t wait – get advice from your nearest pharmacist.
  • Make sure you get your flu jab – it’s free for some people (see ‘who else is eligible’ above).
  • Keep warm – both inside and outdoors; this can help prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems.   Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F).
  • Check your medicine cabinet – ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments, such as colds, sore throat and coughs to stay well through winter.
  • Prescriptions – make sure you get your prescription medicines before your pharmacy or GP practice closes for the holidays.
  • Look out for other people – people such as older neighbours, friends and family may need a bit of extra help over winter.

If you have any questions, speak to your GP, pharmacist or district nurse.

Where to go for the right medical care

  • 999 – for life threatening emergencies
  • call 111 – if you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • GP – for less urgent health needs
  • Pharmacy – to help with common illnesses that you can treat at home and for medicines advice
  • For further information and winter care tips, see our Stay Warm This Winter leaflet