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Should You Get a Flu Jab?

18th October 2012

What is flu?
Flu is much more than a bad cold. It's a virus which can make even healthy people feel very unwell for a week or more. In the most serious cases, flu can bring on pneumonia, or other serious infections which can, in extreme cases, result in death

In Scotland the flu season usually begins as the weather gets colder, so get the jab as soon as you can. The vaccine is available from October through to the end of March but remember, during the flu season it's never too soon to get vaccinated.

Flu is often spread through the air by coughs and sneezes. It can also be caught by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

Who needs the flu vaccination?
Anyone who suffers from heart or lung problems, who has certain long term medical conditions, or is 65 or over, should get the flu vaccine.

If you have an underlying medical condition, flu can hit you hardest. The jab is the safest and most effective way of protecting yourself.

Conditions and diseases which can make flu much more dangerous include:

cystic fibrosis
chronic heart disease
chronic kidney failure
multiple sclerosis
liver problems (such as cirrhosis/hepatitis)
HIV infection.
If you are pregnant, you are at greater risk of complications from flu. Having the vaccine now could help you avoid catching flu and protect your baby.

If you have children who suffer from any of the conditions above, they should be vaccinated too.

Anyone undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment should also get vaccinated.

Unpaid carers of any age including young carers are also eligible for the flu vaccine.

How the flu vaccine works
The vaccine takes around 10 days to work and should protect you from flu for around a year. You have to get vaccinated annually, because the virus changes constantly and your immunity reduces over time. Last year's vaccine won't necessarily protect you from this year's flu viruses. Also, it's important to realise that the flu vaccine does not contain a live virus. This means the vaccine can't give you flu, but it can stop you catching it.

For the best protection against flu, you need to have a new flu jab every year.

The vaccine doesn't contain any live viruses, so it cannot give you flu.

Where do I go to get my vaccination?
Simply contact your GP surgery to arrange an appointment. The flu jab is free to everyone in Scotland with an underlying medical condition or who is 65 or over.

Remember, the vaccine only takes a few minutes and could help keep you well over the winter.

Arrange your vaccination as soon as you can.


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