Experts warn that flu cases could explode due to the current’super cold snap of weather blanketing Britain.
According to the Met Office shots of Arctic air are expected to arrive on our shores by this week. “meaning much colder and wetter weather”.
Expert today encouraged people to go forward to receive their flu jabs. He said that certain groups were not getting enough participation.
UKHSA consultant epidemiologist, Dr Conall Watson, said that although some people had received their jabs already, the UK needed ‘one step further’ this winter.
He said that temperatures are falling and winter is near. Flu typically increases at this time of the year, so if you are eligible for an NHS flu vaccine and haven’t had it yet, please book as soon as you can.
“We have now met the World Health Organisation target for flu vaccine uptake in those aged 65 and over, but we need to go further to make sure more people are protected this winter.”
He urged those from Black Caribbean and Black African backgrounds to get their jabs, as they were less likely than others to do so.
“Flu can cause serious complications for people with conditions like diabetes and stroke that are more common in black ethnic groups”He said,
After the latest flu surveillance report, which revealed low flu hospital admissions and GP consultations, he made these comments.
Although the majority of age groups are more able to take up their responsibilities than in previous years, it is still higher for children between two and three years of age. However, school-aged children who are in school have a slightly lower rate than last year.
Winter months are when flu symptoms can be worsened.
It’s crucial to maintain good hygiene habits in winter, just like Covid.
Dr Watson stated that it is important to keep up these good habits in order to prevent common seasonal illnesses.
“This means washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell”He said,
Experts warned previously of a “very difficult winter” with the threat of both flu and Covid.
Are you eligible to receive a free flu jab
Flu vaccines are free on the NHS for those who:
- 50 years old and older (including those who will turn 50 on 31 March 2022).
- You may have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in long-stay residential care
- You may receive a caregiver’s allowance or be the primary carer for someone older or disabled who could be at risk of becoming sick.
- Living with someone more susceptible to infection (such as someone with HIV, who has had a transplant, or who is undergoing certain treatments for cancer, Lupus, or rheumatoidarthritis) is not an option.
- Frontline workers in social and health care
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency said those who catch both illnesses at the same time are twice as likely to die than patients with coronavirus alone.
Health chiefs also warned deaths from flu could reach 60,000 this winter after lockdowns and social distancing saw immunity plummet.
Boots UK’s Chief Pharmacist Marc Donovan said flu cases in the UK are highest between December and March.
He said, “The flu vaccine stimulates immune system to respond by producing antibodies to the flu virus.
“The antibodies stay in your body so that if you’re exposed to the flu virus naturally, your immune system can recognise it, attack it and prevent it from causing flu.”
It takes the body between 10 and 14 days to produce enough antibodies. That is why it is important that you book your flu jab well in advance of Christmas.
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