The jab

The autumnal weather seems to have settled in now, this change not only alters ones wardrobe but also medicines, rescue packs and action plans.

The weather can create a range of challenges, from damp, mould and moisture build up in your home especially this year as some materials would have expanded during the heat waves and the damage caused would have gone unnoticed until now.

With reports indicating that the weather will become more unpredictable and that we need to prepare for an active winter weather system, someone with ongoing health conditions should prepare themselves to minimise the effects.

We in the UK are accustom to the cold, rain and the extremes in between, that are expected in autumn and winter. The hospitals prepare for a spike in admissions as do the local G.P and walk-in centre.

You are advised to check your medication and consult your medical professional if you have concerns.

Simple symptoms can develop at an uncontrolled rate and soon become a major issue and sometime life threatening. An example of this would be the flu.

For someone with a respiratory condition, the early signs of the flu ‘the sinffles’ can prove to be problematic and progress into a serious life-threatening lung condition Certain people are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Flu is an unpredictable virus that can be unpleasant, but if you’re otherwise healthy it’ll usually clear up on its own within a week. One way to combat and prevent this is by getting a flu jab.  

The flu jab is a vaccine to protect against the strains of flu virus. It provides 70–80% protection against the strains of flu included in the vaccination and lasts for a year, this is why it is vital to ensure you get the flu jab every year to continue the protection and also because every year there are different various or strands of the flu.

The way the flu vaccine works is by encouraging your body’s immune system to make antibodies to attack the flu virus, this is why it is believed the flu vaccine contains the flu itself.

Antibodies are proteins that recognise and fight off germs, such as viruses, that have invaded your blood, those with eosinophilic asthma or similar condition will be aware of anti-immune therapy, this is a simplistic version.  

If you’re exposed to the flu virus, which is very easily spread after you have had the flu vaccine, your immune system will recognise the virus and immediately produce antibodies to fight it.

It may take 10 to 14 days for your immunity to build up fully after you have had the flu vaccine.

You need to have a flu vaccination every year as the antibodies that protect you from flu decline over time, and flu strains can also change from year to year.

There are 3 types of flu viruses:

  • Type A flu virus – this is usually the more serious type. The virus is most likely to mutate into a new version that people are not resistant to. The H1N1 (swine flu) strain is a type A virus, and flu pandemics in the past were type A viruses.
  • Type B flu virus – this generally causes a less severe illness and is responsible for smaller outbreaks. It mainly affects young children.
  • Type C flu virus – this usually causes a mild illness similar to the common cold.

According to the NHS vulnerable groups and the following should have the flu vaccine if you: 

  • are 65 years old or over   
  • are pregnant 
  • have certain medical conditions 
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or another long-stay care facility 
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or you’re the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill 

Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine. It’s your employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for this vaccine.

You may also be able to have the flu vaccine at your GP surgery or a local pharmacy offering the service if you’re a frontline health or social care worker employed by a:

  • registered residential care or nursing home
  • registered homecare organisation
  • hospice

The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:  

Take a breath – Raj

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