As a carer for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own health. Flu can knock even the healthiest people off their feet for a couple of weeks, making it impossible for a carer to look after the person in their care. This is why the NHS offers a free flu vaccination for those either in receipt of a carer’s allowance and/or look after someone who is elderly, disabled, or somebody who lives with a serious long term condition who couldn’t manage without their help.
It’s not just about protecting you as a carer from getting flu, but also preventing you from passing the virus onto the vulnerable person you care for.
Flu is a highly infectious disease which is easily spread from one person to another. Getting flu when you already have a long-term condition can lead to serious complications, and it can even be a killer.
For those who already have a long term health condition, are pregnant or are over 65, it can be even more dangerous as your body will struggle more to fight off the illness and you are more at risk of complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Children are also more at risk.
There are a lot of myths about flu that have circulated over the years. Many people worry that the vaccine can give you the flu. Please be assured that this isn’t possible as there is no live influenza virus in the vaccine.
Unlike other medication for long term conditions, the flu jab is an annual vaccination. The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe. Please contact your GP or local pharmacist to enquire about a free flu jab.
Please take the time to look after yourself and have the flu jab if you are a carer.
Things to think about:
- Flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk of flu and their carers.
- Getting flu could make you and the person you look after seriously ill.
- Carers are eligible for a free flu vaccine because they provide an invaluable service to the community in caring for family members and friends who may be elderly, disabled or have a serious long-term condition and require the help and attention carers can offer.
- If you become ill with flu you may not be able to care for the person or people you look after.
Accessing your free Flu vaccination
Carers can get their free flu jab at the GP (many GPs run special flu clinics to get you in and out quickly – just ask at your local surgery) or you can also get it from participating pharmacies.