Staying ahead of cold and flu season

With summer over and flu season ahead, residents across Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to think about how cold weather and winter viruses may affect them, vulnerable family members and neighbours.

People aged 65+, pregnant women, those with chronic conditions, children and carers, amongst other vulnerable groups, are particularly at risk of contracting the flu virus. They are eligible for free flu vaccinations and are being reminded not to delay and take up their offer before the virus starts circulating. It is also one of the ways in which we can support our health and care services over the winter period. Contact your GP, local pharmacy or antenatal clinic today.

One in three people are entitled to a free flu vaccination, but last year over 100,000 people were left unvaccinated across Coventry and Warwickshire.

This is the first year that all children in Reception and Years 1 to 6 will be offered a simple nasal spray flu vaccination through schools. All children aged 2 and 3 will continue to be eligible for a free flu vaccination, as are children from 6 months old with chronic health conditions, through their GP.
Please note that the children’s nasal spray flu vaccinations will be available early November, but flu jabs (injectable vaccines) are already available for very young at risk children, and for all adult risk groups.

There are many common myths around having the flu vaccine, including that the jab can give you flu, or that there are serious side effects. However, we know that the vaccines used are safe, effective and really are the best protection against flu during the peak months of the virus.

Cllr Kamran Caan, Coventry City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Sport said:

“We know that one in three people in Coventry and Warwickshire are entitled to a free flu vaccination. It is worrying that so many people in our area entitled to a free flu vaccine missed out last year and I encourage all residents to check if they are eligible, because although flu is a mild illness in most, it can kill. Contact your GP or local pharmacy today.

“Getting yourself, your children and encouraging relatives to get vaccinated against the flu and is essential to staying healthy over the winter period.”

Cllr Les Caborn, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care said:

“I have already had my flu jab and I would urge residents to think about getting prepared for the winter period, and put getting their jab at the top of their to-do list. Having to take time off work, because you or your children are unwell is definitely something to avoid. Let’s make the end of Coventry and Warwickshire’s Year of Wellbeing one to remember, with record numbers of people protecting themselves against the flu.”

For anyone in Coventry and Warwickshire who needs advice and is worried about keeping their home warm, there is a free service, run by local energy advice charity Act of Energy. The service can also help with fuel bills and benefits advice entitlements, including whether you are eligible for heating and insulation measures. They can be contacted 0800 988 2881.

For information about flu vaccinations, visit: www.nhs.uk/flu
For a map of pharmacies delivering NHS flu vaccinations across Coventry and Warwickshire – please see: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/flu