The local NHS is urging people in Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford who are at risk of suffering from serious health complications if they catch flu to ensure they claim their free flu jab this winter.
The health service in Sussex has prepared for its largest ever flu protection drive to help keep local people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the winter, with the flu vaccines now available for free for those in at risk groups.
Last year, 89 people ended up in hospital across Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford due to flu and there were also a small number of deaths across Sussex as a result of the viral infection.
Local doctors believe this could have been avoided had those eligible taken up the opportunity to get their free jab, helping ease pressures on local health services by leading to fewer avoidable GP appointments, less people needing hospital care and a drop in the number deaths from flu.
For those who do find they have symptoms of the flu, the NHS advises rest and sleep, to keep warm, take paracetamol or ibuprofen and to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Dr Martin Writer, the clinical chair of NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group, said, “Flu is potentially a very serious illness.
“People might think that flu is just a cough or cold, but it can have devastating effects including causing death.
“The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself, and your loved ones from, flu.
“NHS services across in Sussex have been working hard together to prepare for the winter season, including staff getting their flu jab, so now we’re urging that you, your children or relatives take up the free and convenient flu vaccine as soon as you can.”
Those who could get seriously ill if they get flu and risk avoidable hospital admission can claim a free flu jab, including all children aged two to 10 (but not 11 years or older) on August 31 2019, this covers nurseries, reception through school years 1-6; those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups; pregnant women; those aged 65 years and over; people in long-stay residential care homes; carers and close contacts of immunocompromised individuals.
People identified at risk of complications can receive the flu vaccine through their GP and from their pharmacist.