Stay sharp this winter - get a flu jab!

Facts about influenza

 Flu jab ouch!

Flu facts

Honestly, the jab doesn't hurt.

For the majority of people who catch it flu is unpleasant, but for some it can lead to chest infections, severe complications and death. Globally, seasonal flu accounts for about three to five million causes of severe illness annually and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths.


How safe is the vaccine? 

The risk of having a serious (anaphylactic) reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine is less than one in a million: much lower than the risk of getting seriously ill from having the flu itself. If you have had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a flu vaccine before, please talk to a clinician before getting vaccinated. If you have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to hens' eggs, you should enquire about vaccines with a very low egg content and be vaccinated under clinical supervision. The vaccine is one of the safest in the world. Seasonal flu vaccine is given to millions of people in the UK each year. The specific strains of flu that are included may change from one year to the next but vaccines are still thoroughly tested and are safe.


Will the jab give me flu? 

The flu jab can't give you the flu. It is impossible to get flu from the having the flu jab because the vaccine doesn't contain live viruses. A very small number of people experience side effects such as aching muscles, but this is simply the immune system responding to the vaccine. The side effects of the vaccination aren't bad For the most part, seasonal flu vaccine side effects are mild or often non-existent. The most common side effect is soreness around the site of the injection and occasionally aching muscles. These symptoms are a lot less debilitating than having flu. Health professionals need to protect patients Vaccination isn't just about keeping yourself safe, it's about protecting your colleagues, your family and your patients. You can carry and pass the virus on to others without having any symptoms yourself, so even if you consider yourself healthy, you might be risking the lives of others. You need the vaccine every year If you were vaccinated last year you helped to fight the flu and took an extra step towards excellent patient care. Please do the same again this year. You won't be protected against the new strains of circulating flu. Vaccination works The World Health Organization cites clean water and vaccination as the two interventions that have the greatest impact on public health - vaccination works. Trivalent seasonal influenza vaccines generally give 60-80 per cent protection against infection.

Pregnant women can be vaccinated


Pregnant women can have the flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy. Having the vaccination when pregnant is beneficial and helps protect the baby from flu over the first few months of life. Healthy diets won't prevent flu Your diet could well be helping to boost your immune system, but eating well will not protect you from flu. The best way to protect yourself, family and patients against flu is by getting the flu jab. Hand washing is very important, but it won't stop flu It is vital to follow universal infection prevention procedures and wash your hands, but once flu has been passed on to your family, colleagues or your patients, clean hands won't keep flu at bay. Book your flu jab as soon as possible, and encourage those around you to do the same.


Anyone can get flu


One of the most common reasons for not getting vaccinated is "I've never had flu before". There's no such thing as natural immunity to influenza; with new strains circulating this year, it's best to get vaccinated against flu.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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