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 from flu in those aged 65 years and over

As we get older, it’s important to stay as fit and healthy as possible, and this includes avoiding the flu.

If you are 65 years of age or over, you are at a greater risk of developing severe complications of flu, such as pneumonia1.

This is because the immune response may also be less effective as you get older or you may have more underlying diseases than younger adults, which may reduce your resistance to infection2.

It is estimated that in the US up to 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalisations have occurred among people in that age group3.

If you have another disease or condition such as diabetes or heart problems, you should always check with your pharmacist before buying over-the-counter cold and flu treatments, as these may affect other medications you have been prescribed.

 

Protecting yourself from flu

The flu viruses predominantly circulate during the winter. So you should think about how to help protect yourself as the flu season approaches, as this is when you are most vulnerable.

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu4, and if you are aged 65 and over you are eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS. Get vaccinated as soon as possible, ideally before the end of November, to ensure you’re protected right through the winter5.

Getting a flu vaccination doesn’t just help protect you, it can also help to prevent you spreading the flu to your spouse, children and grandchildren. If you have a carer or home help, it is worth discussing flu prevention measures with them to help reduce the spread of infection.

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. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Q&A on seasonal influenza. Available online: https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/seasonal-influenza/facts/questions-and-answers-seasonal-influenza (accessed July 2018)
  3. Medscape & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing Flu in Older Adults. November 2017. Available online: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/887671?src=par_cdc_stm_mscpedt&faf=1 (accessed August 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. 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)

Adverse Event Reporting

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