Hospitals are busy with influx of patients struck down with winter viruses and Australian Flu has landed in Britain – but the good news is it is not too late to get a vaccination to protect yourself.
Although the best time to get a flu jab is October and November, the vaccinations are still available now – for many of you, they will be free and paid for by the NHS.
Anybody can get the flu jab, but healthy people from age groups who are not deemed to be at risk usually have to pay.
If you want to get yourself vaccinated, there is still time.
Here’s what you need to know.
Is it too late to get a flu jab?
No, they will be offered throughout the winter.
The NHS says: “The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to early November, but don’t worry if you’ve missed it, you can have the vaccine later in winter. Ask your GP or pharmacist.”
Who can get a free flu vaccine?
The jab is offered free to adults at risk, over 65s, pregnant women and young children who are vulnerable to viruses. School children up to year 4 can get a free nasal spray.
Your GP can vaccinate you, or you can go into a pharmacy like Boots or Superdrug, who will still not charge you if you qualify for a free jab.
I don’t qualify for a free flu vaccine? Can I get one elsewhere?
Yes, pharmacies can give you the flu jab, but it will cost up to £20.
To book an appointment at Boots, head here.
For Superdrug, try here.
Will the vaccine protect me against ‘Australian Flu’?
A flu jab is the best protection you can get against the H3N2 ‘Australian Flu’ strain – although some reports in Australia say it has not been as effective as hoped. But still, it’s better than nothing.
I had a flu jab last year, do I need another one?
The NHS says: “Yes. The viruses that cause flu can change every year, which means the flu (and the vaccine) this winter may be different from last winter.”
How long will it take to protect me against flu?
The vaccine needs 10 to 14 days to take effect. So if you are considering getting one, the earlier you do, the better.
What are the symptoms of flu?
The symptoms of most flu, including H3N2, are similar, but different strains can be more severe or contagious than others.
Symptoms can include a sudden fever, aches, exhaustion, a dry chesty cough, headaches, sore throats, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and trouble sleeping.
Children can also get ear pain.
Source : Chroniclelive