We’re being urged to get the flu jab nice and early in Eastbourne.
After figures from the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG showed that fewer people took up the offer for the jab last year, it’s hoped more of us will take the advice this year. Just 29% of 2-year-olds received the nasal spray in 2015, 38% of 3-year-olds and 27% of 4-year-olds. The biggest ‘at risk’ group to respond, was the over 65s, where 72% received the flu jab.
Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex acting director of public health, said, “Flu is an unpleasant illness for anyone but for those in at-risk groups it can put them at risk of serious problems such as pneumonia.
“Last year, uptake of the vaccine was lower than expected, resulting in more people catching the disease and needing treatment, with the resultant pressure on NHS services that causes.
“Having the flu jab is a quick, simple procedure which is the best way for people to avoid becoming a victim of flu and the complications which can result from it.”
Symptoms of flu, which is spread by coughs and sneezes or touching surfaces on which germs have landed, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in joints and muscles and extreme tiredness.
It’s important that people have their flu vaccine every year, as it protects against different strains of flu which change and evolve each year.
Stevi Page, from Herstmonceux, contracted pneumonia after a bout of flu four years ago and as a result developed a long-term problem with asthma.
She said, “I used to get the flu jab every year at the school where I worked, but for some reason in this particular year I just didn’t get around to it.
“Having flu was a horrible experience – I had a terrible cough, was aching all over and one minute I was sweating and feeling hot, the next I was shaking with cold and throwing on blankets.
“The pneumonia was like having flu all over again – I felt so weak and completely washed out for a long time, and even now if I get a cold or sore throat I can't stop coughing and have to use an inhaler.
“It’s a horrible illness and can have nasty consequences, so for anyone who’s not sure about getting vaccinated, I’d say just do it – I always have the flu jab now.
“It’s really important – especially if you, or anyone who you’re in contact with, is vulnerable. You’re not just protecting yourself, but your family, friends and neighbours.”
People in at-risk groups can get the flu jab by talking to their GP or practice nurse.
Photo: 4-year-old Grace Whitehead from Eastbourne getting her nasal flu vaccine spray