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What is Flu?
Flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. It spreads rapidly through small droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. For most people, flu is unpleasant but not serious. You will usually recover within a week. Studies have shown that flu vaccines provide effective protection againthe flu, although protection may not be complete and may vary between people. Protection from the vaccine gradually decreases as flu strains change over time. Therefore, new vaccines are made each year and people at risk of flu are encouraged to be vaccinated every year.
The influenza vaccination is offered to people in at-risk groups. These people are at greater risk of developing serious complications if they catch flu, such as pregnant women and elderly people. The flu immunisation can be given at the same time as other immunisations; it is often given at the same time as the pneumonia immunisation. It is also safe to be given if you are either pregnant or breast-feeding.
Who should be immunised against the seasonal flu virus?
- All patients over the age of 65.
- Pregnant Women.
- All children aged two to four years old (on 1st September 2015)
- All children in school years one and two should be vaccinated in school.
- Children aged over six months with a long term health condition.
- If you care for someone who is elderly or disabled.
- If you are a healthcare worker with direct patient contact.
- If you live in a nursing home or other long-stay residential care accommodation.
In addition to the main at-risk groups of people listed above, you should be immunised if you have been diagnosed with any of the below long term health conditions: