Have you had your flu jab?

“If you get a flu jab, it could save someone’s life.” – Dr Alison Walker, the Trust’s Medical Director, is very clear on flu and is encouraging everyone to get protected this winter.

Whilst some people think it’s just a bad cold, flu is an unpredictable virus which really isn’t fun to have. No-one is immune from flu. The strain changes every year so just because you haven’t had it before, doesn’t mean you won’t get it this year.

Flu is often underestimated but it is a debilitating illness even for those who are fit and healthy. For the elderly, the very young, pregnant women and those with a chronic respiratory or cardiovascular health conditions, catching the flu might see them end up in intensive care and sometimes it is fatal, so having a flu jab could literally save someone’s life.

It’s not just members of the public who need to stay well this winter, NHS staff have a vital role to play to prevent flu from spreading as Dr Alison Walker, the Trust’s Medical Director, explains: “As NHS health care staff who are in constant direct contact with patients, we have a responsibility to protect our patients as well as ourselves. We are in contact with patients on a daily basis so any one of us could pass on a potentially fatal flu infection to one of our patients. We’ve got a chance to stop that happening so why wouldn’t we have the flu jab? As an ambulance service we’ve already vaccinated more than 2,500 front line staff so far this flu season. Not only will the vaccine keep our staff and their families well, it also means that they’ll be fit and well to respond to patients over the winter period.”

What do I do if I get flu?

Sadly, for the majority of people, there’s not a lot the ambulance service can do to help you if you’ve got the flu.

If you’re otherwise fit and healthy, there is no need to visit your GP either with flu-like symptoms.

The best thing you can do is tuck yourself up in bed, rest, drink plenty of fluids, take paracetamol and remember, don’t take over the advised dosage.

Help ease a sore throat and cough with lozenges, mixtures or sprays too. If you are buying over the counter remedies, make sure you check with the pharmacist first to ensure they don’t affect medication you’re already taking.

You can find out more about flu via the NHS Choices Flu page