Healthcare Professionals

This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees in the UK only – this includes GPs, nurses, practice managers, GP practice administration support, pharmacists and pharmacy counter assistants.

If you are not a healthcare professional or healthcare employee, you should not enter this section – information regarding flu can be found on the main website.

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

Flu Risks 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 bronchitis or 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.

 

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 flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy. Most pharmacies in the UK now offer both the NHS free flu jab as well as a private jab. This might be a more convenient option for you. Enter your postcode in the search box above to find your nearest local flu clinic.

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

 

References

1. NHS. Flu and the flu vaccine. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Fluandthefluvaccine.aspx (accessed July 2017)

2. Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2017 to 2018. March 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2017)

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications, August 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm (accessed July 2017)

4. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet No. 211, November 2016. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/index.html (accessed July 2017)

5. Carers UK. Flu Jabs for Carers. http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/flu-jabs (accessed July 2017)

 

Adverse Event Reporting

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