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The New Wokingham Road Surgery

18 New Wokingham Road
RG45 6JL
Telephone: 01344 773418
Fax: 01344 762753

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Important information about

What is seasonal flu?
Seasonal flu occurs every year, usually in the winter. It's a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and spreads easily from person to person.

How do I know when I've got flu?
Flu is far more serious than a cold, flu symptoms hit you suddenly and severely, they usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles, and you can often get a cough and sore throat at the same time.
Because flu is caused by viruses and not bacteria, antibiotics won't treat it. Some people may become very ill with the complications of flu, in the worst cases, seasonal flu can result in a stay in hospital or even death. Don't wait until there is a flu outbreak this winter, contact your GP or practice nurse now to get your seasonal flu jab.

Who should have the seasonal flu vaccine?

  • The vaccine protects those people who are most at risk from catching or spreading flu.
  • You should have the vaccine if you:
  • Are aged 65 years or over
  • Live in a residential or nursing home
  • Are the main carer of an older or disabled person

Or if you have:

  • A heart problem
  • A chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis or emphysema
  • A kidney disease
  • Lowered immunity due to disease of treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
  • A liver disease
  • Had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • Diabetes
  • A neurological condition, for example multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
  • A problem with your spleen, for example sickle cell disease or you have had your spleen removed
  • You are pregnant

Children who have one of the conditions listed above or have previously been admitted to hospital with serious chest or breathing problems should also have the vaccine

Why are some people more at risk than others?
Some people are more at risk from flu (see list above) and need the vaccine because they are not able to fight off flu as easily as others, it can often result in more serious complications which require hospital treatment - sometimes with devastating consequences, this can be prevented by having the vaccine.
Paid and unpaid carers should also consider having the seasonal flu vaccination to reduce their chances of getting flu. They can then continue to help those they look after.

What does the vaccine protect against?
This winter’s flu jab protects against the same three strains of flu as last year’s vaccines. These include the H1N1 strain of the flu virus. H1N1 is the same strain of flu that caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
H1N1 is included because it is likely to be one of the major flu strains circulating in Britain this winter.

The best time to have a flu jab is in the autumn, from September to early November.

Every year, the most likely strains of flu that are expected to cause illness are identified in advance by the World Health Organisation.

How does the vaccine work?
There is NO live virus in the flu vaccine, the vaccine works by tricking your immune system into thinking it has been infected with the flu virus so that it creates antibodies against it.
About a week to ten days after you have had the flu vaccine, your body starts making antibodies to fight off what it thinks is a virus in the vaccine, if you are then exposed to flu, your immune system will destroy the virus before it can cause any serious illness. The vaccine CANNOT give you the flu.

Is the vaccine safe?
Yes - the current manufacturing process for the flu vaccine has been used since the 1980s and is tried and tested. Although a new vaccine is produced each year (to cover the new virus strains which change every year), the process of manufacture is the same and is safe.

Is there anyone who shouldn't have the vaccination?
Almost everybody can have the vaccine, but you should not be vaccinated if you have had a serious allergy to the vaccine in the past or if you have a serious allergy to hens' eggs.
Not all of the seasonal flu vaccines available are suitable for children, please make sure that you discuss this with your GP beforehand.

Will the seasonal flu vaccine protect me completely?
Most people who have the seasonal flu vaccination will not get seasonal flu, however, like any vaccine, it does not give 100% protection. Out of every 100 people who have the vaccine up to 80 may be protected, the rest may have some protection that will reduce the severity of their symptoms.

How long will I be protected?
The vaccine should provide protection throughout the forthcoming flu season, however, you need to get the vaccine every year to ensure you are protected from new flu stains which change every year.

What do I need to do now?
The flu jab is free and available now so make an appointment with your GP surgery today, please don't be complacent or wait until there is a flu outbreak this winter - book an appointment ASAP to protect yourself and others.


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