Over 65s, people with long term conditions, pregnant women and carers in Hounslow are being encouraged to protect themselves against flu by getting the flu jab from their GP or nurse.
The jab is available free through GP practices to people in these ‘at-risk’ groups, as flu can be particularly dangerous for them.
Dr Nicola Burbidge, chair of NHS Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Flu is a highly infectious and unpleasant illness that is most likely to strike in winter.
“For most healthy people, flu symptoms will usually last about a week, but for those in at-risk groups, it can lead to more serious complications that need hospital treatment, which is why they are invited for a free flu jab.
“We know that many people are put off having the vaccine because they think it can give you flu. I can reassure people that the flu vaccine is safe and contains an inactive virus, so it cannot give you flu.
“The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu jab.
“I strongly urge anyone who is eligible for a free flu jab who hasn’t already made an appointment with their GP or nurse to do so as soon as possible to ensure they are protected.”
This year for the first time, children aged two and three will be offered a nasal spray vaccine. Young children’s close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to other more vulnerable groups, including infants and older people.
For further information about the flu jab, patients should contact their GP practice.
People who think they have flu can call 111 for health information or advice. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help when it’s not a 999 emergency. The phone line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones