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Protect yourself against flu

Solihull Council is urging those eligible for a free flu jab to make sure they get the vaccination before winter arrives.

Those eligible for the free vaccination include anyone aged 65 and over, those with an underlying health condition or weakened immune system, pregnant women and anyone who is the main carer for an older or disabled person.

Children aged 2 – 3 will be given the vaccination at their GP by their practice nurse. Children in reception and school years 1 – 4, will be offered the flu vaccination in school. For most children, the vaccine will be given as a spray in each nostril which is a very quick and painless procedure.

The key changes to the flu vaccination programme this year include:

• Reception Year (children aged 4-5) will now be offered a flu vaccination from their reception class, rather than through the GP

• Year 4 (children aged 8-9), as part of the phased roll-out of the children’s programme at school, will be offered a flu vaccination.

Having the vaccine does not give people flu. Some people experience a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days but this is far less severe than developing flu or further complications.

The viruses that cause flu can change every year. Vaccinations are matched with the new viruses, so people should have one each year – even if they think they have already had flu.

Councillor Karen Grinsell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: ‘Flu symptoms can hit suddenly and severely, and they cannot be treated with antibiotics. This is why we’re urging people who are eligible to book an appointment with their GP today to get a flu jab, and stay well this winter.’

Vaccinations are available through GPs or pharmacies. For more information about the vaccination, including who is eligible for a free jab, visit: www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth.

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