Wiganers are being urged to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated against flu in time for the winter months.
Staff at the borough’s hospitals are already getting their jabs and eligible people are being encouraged to follow their lead.
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While many people can recover from flu within a week, it can be particularly serious for certain groups, including those over 65, with other health conditions and pregnant women.
They can take precautions themselves by having the flu vaccination, with the NHS recommending this is done between the beginning of October and end of November.
Prof Kate Ardern, director for public health at Wigan Council, said: “It is so important that all people in the borough who are vulnerable to the effects of flu take up the vaccine over winter.
“Flu can be a very unpleasant illness and for vulnerable people it can be dangerous. The vaccine reduces the chance of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk.
“Our focus as always will be on older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with a chronic health condition, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease, who are at a particular risk.
“There will also be a particular push this year on the healthy children’s programme, targeting primary school children and children who are aged two or three before August 31, 2019.
“We urge anybody with flu-like symptoms to rest, drink plenty of fluids and stay away from care settings or work until they feel well.”
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging its staff to have the seasonal flu vaccination, to not only protect themselves and patients, but also their colleagues and families.
More than 1,200 employees have already received the jab and the trust is working to offer reassurance and dispel the myths surrounding the vaccine that may discourage staff.
Chief nurse Helen Richardson said: “We’ve already made an encouraging start to getting our staff vaccinated and we are actively encouraging more through our campaign.
“As healthcare workers we have a duty to ensure that we protect our patients, our own families, friends and colleagues and ourselves from the virus.
“We must always remember that quite a number of people can be at risk of becoming seriously ill should they catch the flu.”
She added: “The flu vaccination cannot give you flu. It is impossible as the vaccine does not contain any live viruses.
“Most people have no side effects whatsoever.
“Our priority is always to protect our patients and staff and, at this time of the year, one of the things we can do to achieve this is to ensure that as many of our staff as possible are vaccinated against the flu virus.”