The local NHS is urging people in Horsham and Mid Sussex, at risk of suffering from serious health complications if they catch flu, to ensure they claim their free flu jab this winter.
The health service in Sussex has prepared for its largest ever flu protection drive to help keep local people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the winter, with the flu vaccines now available for free for those in at risk groups.
Last year, more than 44 people ended up in hospital across Horsham and Mid Sussex due to flu and there were also a small number of deaths across Sussex as a result of the viral infection.
Local doctors believe this could have been avoided had those eligible taken up the opportunity to get their free jab, helping ease pressures on local health services by leading to fewer avoidable GP appointments, less people needing hospital care and a drop in the number deaths from flu.
For those who do find they have symptoms of the flu, the NHS advises rest and sleep, to keep warm, take paracetamol or ibuprofen and to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Laura Hill, Clinical Chair of Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG, said: “Flu is potentially a very serious illness, people might think that flu is just a cough or cold, but it can have devastating effects – including causing death.
“The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself, and your loved ones from, flu.
“NHS services across in Sussex have been working hard together to prepare for the winter season, including staff getting their flu jab, so now we’re urging that you, your children or relatives take up the free and convenient flu vaccine as soon as you can.”
Those who could get seriously ill if they get flu and risk avoidable hospital admission can claim a free flu jab, including:
-All children aged two to ten (but not eleven years or older) on 31 August 2019, this covers nurseries, Reception through school years 1-6
– Those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
– Pregnant women
– Those aged 65 years and over
– Those in long-stay residential care homes
– Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
People identified at risk of complications can receive the flu vaccine through their GP, and from their local high street pharmacist. The childhood vaccination programme uses a flu nasal spray, protecting children and anyone they come into contact with.