Did you know everyone over the age of 65 can have the flu vaccine available from your GP or local pharmacy for free?

Torbay Council's Public Health Team is supporting Public Health England (PHE) flu vaccination programme to promote the free vaccination for over 65s.

The risk of serious illness from flu and consequent hospitalisation and death is higher among those aged 65 years and older as they are more likely to have an underlying health problem and the immune system does not work as well. To avoid those at risk getting the flu they should have the vaccination - doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly.

Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Derek Mills, said: “It’s important that everyone over the age of sixty-five gets their flu vaccine as soon as possible. Older people are at greater risk of developing more serious illness if they succumb to a bout of the flu, which in turn could lead to pneumonia and other serious complications.

“Avoiding the flu is easy – by having an annual flu vaccination from your GP or local pharmacy you will have the possible chance of not contracting the disease and potentially other more serious complications that could be fatal.”

Director of Public Health, Dr Caroline Dimond, said: “Flu is a highly infectious disease. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.

“For most healthy people, a bad bout of flu is worse than a heavy cold usually requiring someone to spend a few days in bed. However, serious infections, especially in those with underlying health conditions, although less common, can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability and even death.

“It is caused by viruses that are spread from person to person. They infect the respiratory system, where they can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually.”

Flu is spread by coughs and sneezes that propel infected droplets of saliva or nasal secretions into the air which are then breathed in by others. The disease is also spread by people touching surfaces that the droplets have landed on and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. This is why frequent hand washing or using an antiseptic hand rub is so important during the winter flu season.  

Media organisations can contact Torbay Council’s Communications Team on 01803 208850 or email communications.gov.uk for further information.

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