Flu season is here but our staff are fighting it off

News: Flu jabs 2015
HR Director Simon Hart receiving his flu jab at our recent Annual Members' Meeting

With flu season upon us once again, Oxleas is determined to make 2015/16 the year that it achieves its highest rate of staff seasonal flu vaccinations.

The annual NHS Flu Fighter campaign has begun and the vaccinations, which are offered to all NHS workers, enable staff to not only protect themselves from this year's strain of the flu virus, but also their families, colleagues and the vulnerable patients they care for.

This year's campaign was launched at our Annual Members' Meeting on 30 September. First in line for the vaccination, live on stage, was Director of Nursing, Jane Wells, followed by Medical Director Ify Okocha and Acting Chief Executive, Ben Travis.

The campaign aims to ensure 75 per cent of our clinical staff (around 2,800) are immunised either at one of our flu clinics being held over the next few months, or outside of work.

Jane Wells said: "We all have a duty to protect patients, particularly the vulnerable and there is very strong evidence that a good uptake of flu immunisations saves lives and reduces harm. It also helps to minimise pressures on health and social services over the winter months."

Myths about flu

"I had a flu jab last year so don't need one this year."
This is incorrect, as the virus changes each year. You need a flu jab every year to make sure you are vaccinated against the particular strain.

The flu jab can't give you the flu
It is impossible to get flu from the having the flu jab because the vaccine doesn't contain live viruses

Pregnant women can't be vaccinated
Pregnant women can't have the flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy. Having the vaccination when pregnant is beneficial and helps protect the baby from flu over the first few months of life.

Healthy diets won't prevent flu
Your diet could well be helping to boost your immune system, but eating well will not protect you from flu.

Hand washing is very important, but it won't stop flu
It is vital to follow universal infection prevention procedures and wash your hands, but once flu has been passed on to your family, colleagues or your patients, clean hands won't keep flu at bay.

Anyone can get the flu
There's no such thing as natural immunity to influenza.

Get your flu jab

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

  • anyone aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease)
  • children and adults with weakened immune systems

Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to protect them. 

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS as an annual injection to:

  • adults over the age of 18 at risk of flu (including everyone aged 65 and over)
  • children aged six months to two years at risk of flu

Find out more about more, including where to get the flu jab here.

Published on 21st October 2015