Flu (also known as influenza) can be deadly and the best form of protection for yourself, your family and friends is to get vaccinated.
Some people are at increased risk of developing serious complications from flu and eligible for a free vaccination, and you can get more information about this from your local Surgery or Pharmacy.
As the flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains, even if you had the jab last winter, you will still need another one this year.
Free vaccines are available now, so ask at your surgery or local pharmacy today. If you are in any of the following risk groups, you are entitled to a free flu jab:
You can find more information about flu and how to get your vaccination from the Public Health Wales website.
If you are eligible for a free flu jab, you can now get it from your local pharmacy. You can find a full list of those pharmacies offering the vaccine on our website here.
For the majority of people who catch it, flu is unpleasant, but for some, it can lead to chest infections, severe complications and death. Globally, seasonal flu accounts for about three to five million causes of severe illness annually and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths.
The flu vaccine is safe
The risk of having a serious (anaphylactic) reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine is less than one in a million: much lower than the risk of getting seriously ill from having the flu itself. If you have had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a flu vaccine before, please talk to a clinician before getting vaccinated. If you have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to hens' eggs, you should enquire about vaccines with a very low egg content and be vaccinated under clinical supervision.
The side effects of the vaccination are not bad
For the most part, seasonal flu vaccine side effects are mild or often non-existent. The most common side effect is soreness around the site of the injection and occasionally aching muscles. These symptoms are a lot less debilitating than having flu.
Health professionals need to protect patients
Vaccination isn't just about keeping yourself safe, it's about protecting your colleagues, your family and your patients. You can carry and pass the virus on to others without having any symptoms yourself, so even if you consider yourself healthy, you might be risking the lives of others.
You need the vaccine every year
If you were vaccinated last year, you helped to fight the flu and took an extra step towards protecting others. Please do the same again this year - you won't be protected against the new strains of circulating flu.
The World Health Organisation cites clean water and vaccination as the two interventions that have the greatest impact on public health - vaccination works. Trivalent seasonal influenza vaccines generally give 60-80 per cent protection against infection.
Handwashing is very important, but it won't stop flu
It is vital to follow universal infection prevention procedures and wash your hands, but once flu has been passed on to your family, colleagues or your patients, clean hands won't keep flu at bay. Book your flu jab as soon as possible, and encourage those around you to do the same.
Anyone can get the flu
One of the most common reasons for not getting vaccinated is 'I've never had flu before'. There's no such thing as natural immunity to influenza, with new strains circulating this year, it's best to get vaccinated against flu.
How will I know if I have flu?
When people get flu they tend to become ill quite quickly. Symptoms can include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscle, often with a cough and sore throat.
What should I do if I get flu?
Rest at home in bed if needed, keep warm and drink plenty of water. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary.
To help stop flu spreading:
If you are elderly or in a risk group and think you have flu, you should talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible.
If you haven't had your vaccine this flu season, you should have your vaccine as soon as you are feeling better. This will help protect you against other types of flu.