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Patients are urged to get vaccinated against flu

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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Doctors are urging patients in Bath and North East Somerset to protect themselves against flu by having this year's jab.

It is estimated that about 14 million people across the country will suffer from flu this winter.

Recent figures from the Health Protection Agency show that 602 people in the UK died with a confirmed influenza infection during the 2010/11 season.

Despite this, many people in B&NES who are entitled to a free NHS flu vaccination will choose not to have it.

Dr Ian Orpen, chairman of NHS B&NES Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a practising GP in Bath, said: "The best way to protect yourself, your family and friends from seasonal flu is to have this year's flu jab.

"This year's seasonal flu vaccine is free to patients who are 'at risk' of developing complications from flu.

"This includes pregnant women, people aged 65 or older and people with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or Parkinson's disease.

"Residents living in a nursing or residential home as well as healthcare workers or carers are also eligible for a free jab."

Dr Orpen said the vaccination was especially important for pregnant women because it protects their babies even after they are born and reduces the risks of complications in pregnancy.

Anyone with symptoms of flu should try to avoid spreading the infection and are discouraged from visiting doctors surgeries.

The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Doctors said anyone who thinks they have flu can also take paracetamol or ibuprofen, to lower a high temperature and relieve aches.

To stop it spreading people are also asked to be extra careful with hygiene by covering their mouth and nose when sneezing, disposing of tissues carefully and regularly washing hands and any surfaces they come into contact with.

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