HEALTH AND CARE: Stay Well this Winter with new national NHS campaign

This year, the youngest primary school children are eligible to receive the free nasal spray vaccine for flu
This year, the youngest primary school children are eligible to receive the free nasal spray vaccine for flu

The Herald & Gazette have joined forces with GP practices in the area which form part of the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This week, they are urging people to take part in a national campaign to stay healthy in the winter.

Last week we saw the launch of a national NHS campaign to help people to stay well this winter.

The major drive starts with the national flu vaccination programme, which this year aims to protect more than three million 2-4 year olds; 2.1 million more children than last year.

As in previous years, the adult flu vaccine will also be offered for free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu.

The groups being offered the adult flu vaccine are pregnant women, those aged 65 or over, those aged under 65 with long-term conditions, and people who receive a carer’s allowance or who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person.

GP practices across Coastal West Sussex are already running their flu clinics and if you are eligible everyone is urged to get the vital protection from seasonal flu.

This year for the first time, the youngest primary school children are now also eligible to receive the free nasal spray vaccine, making this the largest school based vaccination programme ever in the country.

More than 17,000 schools are involved across England, as the vaccination programme is extended to all children in school years 1 and 2.

This was tested as a pilot last year and it was found that vaccinating children had a dual benefit: as well as protecting them from the flu, it also protects others, such as parent, grandparents and siblings, as children are ‘super spreaders’ and are much more likely to infect others.

Parents are being encouraged to complete the consent forms to allow immunisation teams to give the nasal spray flu vaccine to their children – and speak to the teams if you do have any questions or concerns.

Those children in areas not offering vaccination at school will be able to have vaccination at their local GP or pharmacy – so speak to your local practice or pharmacist to make arrangements.

As well as protecting against flu, the NHS Stay Well this Winter campaign will give advice on how to avoid common illness to people over 65 or those with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease or respiratory illness.

We want people to know to think about the help and support they need as soon as you start to feel unwell, and where to get the most appropriate help.

There are pharmacies across our local area, open around the clock, who can offer experienced health advice and support before something gets more serious.

We want to make sure we give people the information they need to help them to look after themselves and also to know where to go for urgent advice – whether it’s pharmacies, NHS Choices, NHS111 or A&E.

Find out more about the health services available locally – www.coastalwestsussexccg.nhs.uk/gettherightcare – and read more about the national campaign – www.nhs.uk/staywell

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