People aged 65 and over in Bognor Regis and across West Sussex are being urged to get the free flu jab to protect themselves and others this winter.
Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very suddenly and can strike with the onset of winter. It’s not necessarily the drop in temperature that causes the dreaded bug to strike, although the virus may survive better in colder, drier climates, and therefore be able to infect more people
During winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed, so they are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu and so contract the virus.
And the days are shorter during the winter, and lack of sunlight leads to low levels of vitamin D and melatonin. This compromises our immune systems, which in turn decreases ability to fight the virus.
The flu vaccine is also available to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications, including family or friend carers, everyone living in a residential or nursing home and people with long-term health conditions.
The get-the-jab call has gone out as part of West Sussex Care Month, which is running throughout October, to raise awareness of care and support available to help people live independently in their own homes as they get older, and to prevent them going into hospital.
West Sussex County Council’s Amanda Jupp said: “Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. Although you may not consider yourself at risk of catching flu I would still encourage you to get the free vaccination if you’re eligible.
“Vaccination is the most effective protection we have against an unpredictable virus and the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching flu.”
If you are aged 65 and over and want to get your free flu jab, contact your local GP surgery or participating pharmacy to get more information and book yourself an appointment.