Somerset’s Director of Public Health has this week reminded parents and people in ‘at risk groups’ across the Burnham-On-Sea area that it is not too late to get a free flu vaccine.

With a cold spell of weather arriving in the Burnham area, the NHS has warned that while for most people flu is just a nasty experience, for others it can lead to illnesses that are more serious, including bronchitis and pneumonia, which can be life threatening.

NHS recommendations say the following people should have a flu jab – everyone aged 65 and over; all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy; all two, three, and four, year old children; all children in school years 1 and 2; everyone living in a residential or nursing home; everyone who cares for an older or disabled person; and household contacts of anyone who is ‘immuno-compromised’; and all frontline health and social care staff.

Anyone in these groups who hasn’t yet had the vaccine should contact their GP in Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge or Berrow, their pharmacist or midwife now as they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, and sadly many end up in hospital.

Somerset County Councillor Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member with responsibility for health, told “For good health during the winter months remember that the flu vaccine is still the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. It can reduce the risk of serious illness, ending up in hospital, and even death among those who are most at risk.”

Simple steps can help you towards good winter health. Being considerate of those around you and maintaining good cough and hand hygiene will help to prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of transmission for flu.

This includes remembering to cover your own nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze and disposing of the tissue and washing your hands with hot water and soap every time you sneeze – as soon as you can.

Simple winter health steps include keeping warm – this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia. Also, look out for your neighbours, friends and family to see they are coping well and whether they need your help.

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