NHS services are extremely busy, and are working incredibly hard to make sure those that most need help can get the care and support they need.
This winter we know that high levels of people have been unwell with flu, and some people have become extremely ill.
Our NHS teams are working hard to look after those who need help, and we are calling for everyone to take steps to protect yourself and those around you.
It is not too late to get the seasonal flu vaccine for free if you are in one of the eligible groups.
Fewer that one in two people who are at risk of becoming very ill from flu, including pregnant women, have had their jab so far this winter.
That leaves thousands of people across East Sussex who could be protected against the flu virus.
You are eligible if you are:
- over the age of 65,
- have an underlying health condition,
- are pregnant,
- or are the main carer for a loved one or friend.
Children aged two and three plus children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four are also eligible this year.
Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse for Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG and Hastings and Rother CCG said:
“If you are eligible for the free seasonal flu vaccination, and you haven’t had it, there is still time. Please speak to your GP or a local pharmacist to book an appointment to have the jab.
“If you are not eligible, there are still ways you can protect yourself and those around you. Good hand hygiene - the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ technique – reduces the spread of germs: carry tissues, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, dispose of the tissue after one use, and regularly washing hands as soon as possible with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel can really make a difference.”
Flu is very infectious and can easily spread to other people.
You are most likely to give it to others in the first five days and so if you are feeling unwell:
- rest and sleep,
- keep warm,
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains,
- and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Seek medical help if you are over the age of 65, have a long term health condition, have a weakened immune system, are pregnant, or your symptoms don't improve after seven days.
Allison Cannon continued: “Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. Please also help to stop the spread of these germs, and if you are feeling unwell please avoid visiting friends and family in hospital until after your symptoms have cleared; this helps to protect those who need help the most.”
The NHS across Sussex and East Surrey is working together to encourage people to #HelpMyGP and #HelpMyAandE this winter.
A website at www.sussexhelpmy.nhs.uk highlights the all the available alternatives to A&E visits or GP appointments, and has searchable listings on the most appropriate services available across Sussex to treat a range of illness and injuries.
Please do your bit to #HelpMyNHS and yourself this winter!