GPs in Gloucester are urging at-risk residents to protect themselves from flu and take up the offer of the free vaccination from their GP surgery as soon as they can.

Dr Andy Seymour, GP in Gloucester, said:

“It’s really important that people who are most vulnerable to health complications associated with flu protect themselves by visiting their GP surgery to get the vaccination.

If you are 65 or over or you have an existing health problem, flu can be dangerous. It can also be serious for young children.

This year, the vaccination is being offered to children aged 2 to 4, children in school years 1 and 2, people 65 and over, and anyone who is living with a long term condition.”

For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant illness from which they recover within a week. However, some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu and are at increased risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or make existing conditions worse.

In the worst cases, seasonal flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.

You are likely to be particularly vulnerable if you have a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or a weakened immune system. The vaccination is also advised for pregnant women because both mother and unborn baby are at particular risk from the flu.

Flu is an unpredictable virus with new strains circulating each year during the winter months, so it is essential that vulnerable people take steps to protect themselves.

Dr Seymour urges those who are offered the free flu vaccination to contact their GP surgery early in the flu season each year, adding:

“Our message to at-risk groups is clear – take preventative action now and help avoid potentially serious illness later on.

A nasal spray is available for pre-school age children, and children and school years 1 and 2. This offers a quick, easy and painless way to help prevent them catching flu whilst also helping to reduce it spreading to more vulnerable people.

Even people whose health conditions are well managed and who lead otherwise healthy lives should still have the flu vaccine – it’s free because you need it.”

To arrange your vaccination, please contact your GP surgery.

For further information about flu and to watch a video showing how it spreads, visit