Carer Support Wiltshire are urging unpaid carers to take advantage of a free flu jab this season.
Many carers don’t realise they are entitled to the vaccination but if you look after someone who wouldn’t be able to manage without your help – even if you don’t live with them – then you can have a free flu vaccination.
Carers should contact their GP practice now and get themselves – along with the person they care for, if recommended – booked in for their flu jab this autumn. The jab is an annual vaccine which changes yearly to combat the latest strains of flu.
So those who had the jab last year will need another this year to stay safe.
The vaccination doesn’t just protect the carer, but also can help protect the person they are looking after. This is particularly important if the person being cared for has a long-term health condition or is over 65 years of age.
Judy Walker, Chief Executive of Carer Support Wiltshire said: “If you care for someone and you go down with flu or another bug it’s not only unpleasant for you but if affects the person you’re caring for and increases the risk of them becoming ill too. It’s really important to look after yourself and to take advantage of the free flu jab.
“If it’s difficult for you to make it to the GP, pharmacies are often open extended hours and at weekends too. The vast majority of people won’t experience any side effects from the jab other than a sore arm and any symptoms experienced are likely to be mild and much less serious than flu symptoms.”
The ideal time to have the vaccination is early October, but don’t worry if you’ve missed it as you can still have the vaccine later in the winter.
- Who is eligible?
If you look after a friend or relative who can’t get by without your help, you will be eligible for the flu vaccine for FREE.
- When to have the flu vaccine?
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October, but don’t worry if you’ve missed it then, you can have the vaccine later in winter. Ask your GP or pharmacist.
- Where can I get vaccinated?
You can have your free flu jab at your GP surgery or participating pharmacy from October each year. Ask your GP when they are running clinics, or your local pharmacy if they are offering this service.
- Who should seek advice before having the jab?
If you have had a previous allergic reaction to a flu vaccination or you have a hen’s egg allergy you should seek advice before having the flu jab.
- What side effects may I experience?
After the flu jab you may get a mild fever and slight muscle aches for a day or so.
If you have a sore arm after the vaccination, try these tips to ease the discomfort:
– Continue to move your arm regularly – don’t let it get stiff and sore
– Take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – pregnant women shouldn’t take Ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends and prescribes it
– Do not give aspirin to children under 16
Serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to flu vaccines are very rare. Healthcare staff giving vaccinations are fully trained to deal with anaphylaxis and, with prompt treatment, individuals make a quick and complete recovery.
Contact a pharmacist or your GP if you experience severe side effects that are not improving over time.
For more information visit the NHS choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/flu-influenza-vaccine.aspx