Health Matters

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After a very welcome summer it hardly seems possible that we need to start thinking about the colder months ahead and importantly how we can ensure that we stay healthy during the winter months.

One of the diseases that can affect you at this time of year is Flu and getting an immunisation can help you avoid this potentially serious infection.

Flu can present with many different symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, aching body, headache, chills, tiredness, diarrhoea, vomiting, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion.

Most people recover completely from Flu within a few weeks however for some people the infection is more serious and can lead to complications. These include pneumonia, ear and sinus infection and the worsening of chronic health problems such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes. You are more likely to develop complications if you are older or already suffer from a chronic health condition.

Therefore, flu is a potentially dangerous virus, which can be easily protected against.

Annual immunisation against Flu is a very important health protection measure and is available from your GP surgery for those who are over 65 and those who have increased risk factors such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, neurological disease, and those with a weakened immune system. If you are in doubt as to whether you are entitled to the Flu vaccine, please contact your surgery.

Starting this year, the Government is also starting to roll out Flu vaccines to children. During this first ‘pilot’ year some children will be offered vaccination in school and all two and three year olds will be able to get this vaccine from their GP surgery. The good news for children is that there is a special vaccine that does not involve an injection but is given with a spray of vaccine into the nose.

Getting a Flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect yourself against this disease. It takes around two weeks after the vaccine to develop immunity so these clinics enable us to reach more of our patients as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available. It is important to get vaccinated as early as you can to ensure you are protected.

Academy Medical Centre will be offering vaccination to all those eligible patients attending for other appointments and are also opening on October 7 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Contributed by the doctors and nurses at the Academy Street Medical Centre, in conjunction with the Patient Participation Group.