The Lord Mayor of Manchester - and his mum, Vera – are calling for people in key risk groups to come forward for their annual flu vaccination.
Showing that the power of two can beat flu - Vera Austin, 81, was joined by her son, The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Carl Austin-Behan as she went for her annual vaccination, on Wednesday.
Mother and son visited Park View Medical Centre, in Crumpsall, and are also reminding parents that children aged between two and four can have a jab-free vaccine this year.
Flu symptoms can start suddenly – and in some cases severely – including fever, chills, headaches, aching muscles as well as a cough or sore throat. Some people are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Vera, from Crumpsall, is one of the priority groups for the vaccination which focuses on anyone aged 65 and over, and also includes pregnant women (at any stage of their pregnancy), and adults and children with long-term health conditions.
Vera Austin, said : “A bad bout of flu is very different from having a heavy cold and can make some people seriously ill. It can particularly affect people, like me, who are in the risk groups, so it’s vital that you come forward for your vaccination. It's so quick and you can hardly feel a thing - it could save your life.”
Flu – which is caused by a virus– cannot be treated by antibiotics, which only work on bacteria.
The viruses that cause flu change each year, which is why people need a yearly vaccination that matches the new viruses.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Carl Austin-Behan, said: “Flu vaccinations do save lives, if you know someone in one of the at risk groups I’d urge you to remind them to get their annual vaccination or even go with them when they have it done. If you care for someone who is elderly or disabled, why not speak to your GP or pharmacist about having a flu jab along with the person you care for.”
Many people don’t realise that they can also have their flu vaccination at their local pharmacy, without making an appointment.
All children aged from two up to school years 1 and 2 will be offered intra-nasal flu vaccination (a spray of vaccine in to the nose), either through their GP or in primary school.
The move for children to have the vaccine not only protects younger patients but also older generations as it can stop children passing flu to other family members like grandparents, who could be frail or elderly.
Dr Martin Whiting, Chief Clinical Officer of North Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Winter illnesses like flu can quickly escalate into a more serious condition, especially if you have an underlying medical condition. Its important we keep preventable illness at bay and everyone can help by encouraging friends and loved ones in the risk groups to take action, and offer the support they need to get vaccinated. "
The flu vaccine is available free on the NHS for:
- Anyone over the age of 65
- Pregnant women
- Children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease)
- Children aged from aged two up to children in school years 1 and 2, who will be given a nasal spray of the vaccine.
- People with diabetes, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, kidney disease,neurological disease.
- People with a suppressed immune system - perhaps as a result of HIV, chemotherapy or absent spleen.
Councillor Paul Andrews, Manchester City Council's executive member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, said: "Remember everyone can play their part in helping tackle the impact of winter illnesses in their community. If you have older or infirm neighbours then please, show them you care, check in on them when you can and remind them of the importance of the flu vaccination."
For more information visit: www.nhs.uk/staywell or speak to your pharmacist or GP.