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September 20th, 2007

Influenza, or flu, is a highly infectious disease that occurs mainly in winter months and infects up to 10% - 15% of the UK Population.

Most people recover within 1 - 2 weeks, but in people who have already got lower immunity due to treatment or disease, then complications can arise. In the UK approximately 3,000 to 4,000 deaths are due to complications caused by flu during a typical winter.

A flu vaccination gives protection for up to a year. The best time to be vaccinated is between September and November, just before the winter period when flu is more prevalent. You should not wait until there is a flu epidemic before being vaccinated.

The Department of Health (DoH) recommends that the following people be vaccinated each year to protect them against flu:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • adults and children who have one or more of the following conditions: chronic chest conditions including asthma, diabetes, heart, liver, neurological or kidney disease or lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
  • people living in a residential or nursing home
  • healthcare workers
  • carers who receive a carers allowance or those who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk in the carer falls ill.

If you think you need a flu vaccination, speak to the receptionist at your GP practice or occupational health department.

Source: gsk

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