Healthcare staff spread message on flu vaccination
Frontline NHS staff across Northumberland and North Tyneside are rolling up their sleeves to protect themselves and their patients against flu this winter.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which covers one of the largest geographical areas of any trust in England, has launched its annual staff flu vaccination campaign to ensure its 9000 strong workforce protect themselves, their patients and their families.
Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch and for some people, especially the elderly, vulnerable patients in hospital and for those in ‘at risk’ groups it can be very serious.
All NHS staff, from Berwick to North Tyneside and Hexham in the west, will be offered the flu vaccination not only to protect themselves, but also to help prevent the virus from spreading to those who are more vulnerable.
Rosemary Stephenson, director of nursing at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We know that flu can be a very serious illness for some people, but we also know that it can be very easily prevented with a simple vaccination.
“Our frontline staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside are much more likely to be exposed to the virus and it’s our absolute priority to make sure they are protected as soon as possible.
“Over the coming weeks thousands of our nurses and doctors will be getting their vaccinations not only to protect themselves, but also to stop the virus from spreading to our vulnerable patients.”
Healthcare leaders are also keen to encourage ‘at risk’ members of the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible at their local GP surgery.
People who are identified ‘at risk’ from flu include all pregnant women, anyone over six months of age with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, anyone over 65, as well as carers who look after other vulnerable people. All are being encouraged to contact their GP practice as soon as possible to arrange their free flu jab.
This year, for the first time, children aged two and three years old will be offered protection from flu as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. The aim is to protect healthy children who are also susceptible to flu, but also reduce the spread of the virus and protect others such as their younger siblings and grandparents who may be more vulnerable.
Flu is a highly infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes especially during winter. It is not the same as the common cold. Although symptoms are similar, they tend to be more severe and last for longer.
Flu symptoms include a sudden high temperature, headache, general aches and pains, tiredness and a sore throat. They can make you feel so exhausted and unwell that you have to stay in bed and rest until you feel better. For more information about flu visit www.nhs.uk/flu.