It really is starting to feel wintry outside now! And as the weather gets colder, our immune systems weaken making us more susceptible to winter bugs like flu. Although quite common, flu is very unpleasant and can be quite dangerous for certain people. It usually results in at least a week in bed with fever, chills, aches and pains, headaches and exhaustion. There are also much more serious complications that need hospital treatment.

Flu is very contagious and is easily spread on toys and surfaces and through coughs and sneezes. But it’s easily prevented with a quick and safe vaccine or nasal spray.

The flu vaccination is free from your GP practice for:

  • children aged two to four (via nasal spray, not injection). (NB: children aged five to 10 will be offered it through their school)

And free from either your GP practice or local pharmacy for:

  • pregnant women
  • people aged 65 and over
  • people with health conditions or reduced immunity
  • carers
  • frontline health and social care staff, and
  • care home residents.

It’s really important to get vaccinated early and to do it each year. The flu virus changes and evolves, and so does the vaccination, so you won’t be protected by previous vaccinations. Not enough people were vaccinated last year in East Sussex, and getting vaccinated could avoid unnecessary strain on local hospitals during the winter months. Book now through your GP practice or pop into your local pharmacy. If you’re not eligible for a free vaccine, you can pay around £10 from many pharmacies for it.

More information about flu is available on the NHS website.