FOR UK HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS ONLY

This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees who are involved in patient care or service provision for influenza immunisation in the UK only – this includes (but is not limited to) GPs, nurses, practice managers, pharmacists, and pharmacy counter assistants.

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE

Risks of flu if you are a carer

If you care for someone who is elderly, ill or disabled, you need to ensure you stay as fit and healthy as possible, so that you can help them to do the same.  Whether you are a long-term carer, or you are nursing a spouse or relative short-term, it’s important that you try and avoid catching flu.

 

The risks for the person you care for

If you are the solitary carer for someone and you fall ill, you may not be able to look after them as well as they need. You also risk passing on the infection to them, which could be dangerous if they have health conditions that could put them at risk of developing serious complications from the flu1. This includes people who1,2:

These complications from flu could include pneumonia1, a higher risk of hospitalisation (or even death)3 or it could make their existing health condition worse3.

 

The risks for you

If you are over 65 or have any of the above health conditions yourself, you are also at risk of developing the same serious complications from flu.

 

Protecting yourself and the person you care for from flu

The flu viruses predominantly circulate during the winter. So you should think about how to help protect yourself and the person you care for as the flu season approaches.

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu4, and if you receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer for an elderly, ill or disabled person, you may be eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS5.

Get vaccinated as soon as possible, ideally before the end of November, to ensure you’re protected right through the winter2.

 

Other ways to avoid infection

If the person you care for has regular visitors, it is worth asking them to follow good hygiene practices to help reduce their likelihood of passing on the flu virus. These may include thoroughly washing their hands before greeting or touching the person you care for, or covering their mouth and nose with a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing.

You can get your free NHS flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy, while most pharmacies in the UK also offer private jabs.

*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.

 

References

  1. NHS Choices. The Flu Vaccine. July 2016. Available online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/ (accessed July 2018)
  2. Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2018 to 2019. March 2018.  Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2018)
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications, August 2018. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm (accessed September 2018)
  4. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet, January 2018. Available online: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal) (accessed July 2018)
  5. Carers UK. Flu Jabs for Carers. Available online: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/flu-jabs (accessed July 2018)

Adverse Event Reporting

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE