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NHS in Gloucestershire launches Flu Free campaign, urging at risk groups to protect themselves with a free flu jab

The NHS in Gloucestershire has launched a new flu campaign this week, sharing three short video clips which illustrate the importance, for those eligible, of taking up the offer of a free flu jab.

Dr Hein Le Roux, CCG Governing Body GP, said:

“It’s really important that people who are most vulnerable to health complications associated with flu protect themselves by getting vaccinated.

If you are 65 or over or you have an existing health problem, flu can hit you hard. It can also be serious for pregnant women and young children.”

This year the flu vaccine is being offered to children aged 2 to 7 (a nasal spray), people 65 and over, pregnant women 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 long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, liver or 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, in some cases leading to complications such as premature birth and low birth weight.

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 and have their flu vaccination every year.

Dr Le Roux urges those who are offered the free flu vaccination to take up the offer early in the flu season each year, adding:

“The messages in the videos are clear – if you’re at risk, take preventative action now to protect yourself and those you care about.

A nasal spray is available for children aged 2 to 7. 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 watch videos about the potential consequences of not getting vaccinated, visit http://www.gloucestershireccg.nhs.uk/flu-free or search the hashtag #FluFree on Twitter.

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