It's not too late to have your flu vaccination

The days are getting longer and winter is waning but it’s not too late to get your flu jab.

Health professionals are still advising people living in the Morecambe Bay area to take up the offer of a flu vaccination to protect themselves throughout the colder months.

Some people may think the risk of flu is over but it can often strike in late winter and even in the spring. The flu is an unpredictable virus and some people are at risk of developing potentially serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Bay Health and Care Partners (BHCP) say having the flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and stay well this winter and spring.

BHCP includes University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (MBCCG), Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, the GP Providers Alliance, Cumbria County Council, Lancashire County Council, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. All of the BHCP members are promoting the importance of the flu vaccination and are working together to support people’s health over the winter months.

The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk. This is to help protect them against catching flu and developing serious complications.

You should have the flu vaccine if you fall into any of the below categories:

 If you are 65 years of age or over

 If you are pregnant

 If you have certain medical conditions

 If you are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility

 If you receive a carer's allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabledperson whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

 If you are a frontline health and social care worker (it is your employer's responsibility toarrange and pay for this vaccine).

Dr Thimmiah Arun, a GP working in the Morecambe Bay area, said: “We are still encouraginglocal people to have their flu vaccination in order to protect themselves, their loved ones and people in the local community.

“The flu can be very serious for vulnerable groups or those already ill in hospital and undergoing treatment. If you do catch flu, we would advise that you stay at home, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and use paracetamol or ibuprofen to control your temperature and treat aches and pains.”

Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “The flu is still prevalent so I would encourage people to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated.

“I would like to remind all visitors, members of the public and staff that flu can spread rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes as it is highly infectious.

“Any visitors, members of the public or health and care employees who may be feeling unwell, or may have been in contact with a person with flu like symptoms in recent days, should stay awayfrom our hospitals. If you fall into one of the groups that are at greater risk, please take up the opportunity and have your free flu jab through your GP practice, local pharmacy or employer if you work in the NHS."

For more information on flu, visit the NHS website at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/