GPs urge those at high risk in West Sussex to get free flu jab

The current flu map showing all of Sussex hit by the bug. Source: https://flusurvey.org.uk/
The current flu map showing all of Sussex hit by the bug. Source: https://flusurvey.org.uk/

West Sussex GPs are calling for the thousands of people who are at high risk of medical complications from seasonal flu, who haven’t yet received their vaccination, to get their free flu jab now.

The NHS in West Sussex is offering the free flu jab to those most at risk of becoming very unwell if they contract the flu virus.

You are eligible for the free flu vaccine if you:

- are aged 65 years and older

- have an underlying health condition (such as a long term heart or respiratory disease)

- have a weakened immune system

- are pregnant

- are a main carer for an older or disabled person

The vaccine is available free on the NHS for eligible children, including:

- children aged 2 and 3 on August 31 2017 – that is, children born between September 1 2013 and August 31 2015

- children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3 and 4

- children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions

The NHS says that if you are eligible for the jab, the seasonal flu vaccination is the best protection for you and your loved ones, and can help to stop the spread of flu in the community.

Dr Minesh Patel, Clinical Chair of NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP, said: “Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications for those with long-term health conditions like bronchitis, diabetes, heart or liver disease, very young children and pregnant mothers. Catching flu on top of these can easily develop into something very serious and could get bad enough to require hospital treatment.”

Dr Tim Taylor, Medical Director at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Following our busiest Christmas ever, our teams continue to work around the clock to care for very high numbers of sick patients.

“Respiratory illnesses are particularly prevalent at this time of year and we are now beginning to see a small but rising number of confirmed flu cases.

“If you have had flu like symptoms, or indeed diarrhoea or vomiting recently, we ask you not to come into our hospitals until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared – unless it is an emergency.

“This will help us to protect our patients, many of whom are particularly susceptible to highly contagious viruses such as influenza and norovirus. We thank you for your support.”

Are you eligible for flu vaccine?

If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now – contact your GP practice to book into a flu clinic.

If you think you may have the flu, symptoms of which can include a sudden fever, aching body and/or a headache, you should:

- rest and sleep

- keep warm

- take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains

- drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Residents should also seek advice from their local pharmacist as soon as possible; pharmacies can give treatment and advice and recommend flu remedies.

For more information on flu and to find your local pharmacist visit: www.nhs.uk

Flu Map

An interactive ‘flu map’ which shows the areas with the worst outbreaks of the illness, according to users who upload reports themselves, is now showing all of Sussex hit by the bug.

The map can be found at https://flusurvey.org.uk/