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Health organisations encourage the public to protect against potentially serious virus

Coventry and Warwickshire health and social care organisations are urging the local population to join them in the fight against flu with one of the worst seasons in recent years expected.

Data released by Australian health authorities shows that, compared to previous years, flu has hit earlier in the calendar and a higher number of cases have been reported in 2019. The northern hemisphere usually experiences a similar scenario to our neighbours down under so people in Coventry and Warwickshire are encouraged to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible.

Flu can be severe for some people including older adults, pregnant women and anyone with underlying health conditions, such as asthma and long-term heart disease. The national flu immunisation programme aims to provide direct protection to those who are at higher risk of flu associated illness and death. Since 2013, vaccines have been offered to children to protect them as well as those they come into contact with. For the first time in England all primary school aged children will now be offered the vaccine.

People in the at-risk groups can receive an NHS flu jab free of charge. For more information on where you can get your vaccine visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/flu.

Flu can be caught when an infected person releases millions of tiny droplets through sneezing or coughing. These droplets are suspended up to one metre in the air until landing on surfaces where the virus survives for up to 24 hours. Surfaces could include; door handles, telephones, computer keyboards and handrails. Anyone who comes into contact with an infected surface and then touches their nose or mouth or breaths in the droplets can catch flu. This is why practising good hand hygiene is also important.

Charles Ashton, Medical Director at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “Vaccines are one of best ways to protect yourself, your family and friends from what can be a serious virus. We’re working with our partners in local health and social care to make sure as many people are protected for what the figures are suggesting will be a bad flu season.”

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