North West Hit Hardest by Flu Last Winter
Figures released by NHS North West today show that last winter over 1,200 people were admitted to our hospitals across the region with a primary diagnosis of flu between November and February, with 331 people admitted to critical care over a four week period.
Jane Cummings, chief nurse for the North West, is urging anyone who is entitled to a flu jab to take up the offer as soon as possible this year. “People in the North West were hit particularly hard by flu last year. The NHS in this region experienced high demand for intensive care beds before anywhere else in the country.
“We have some of the highest numbers of people who fall into the at risk groups in our communities. Last year just over half of the people aged under 65 who were at risk were vaccinated. We know that the seasonal flu virus will be circulating again this winter, so the best step to take for anyone who has an underlying health condition, is to get vaccinated as soon as possible, to protect themselves from becoming seriously ill.”
The majority of people admitted to hospital last winter as a result of catching flu had underlying health problems. People in at risk groups include:
- Pregnant women
- People aged 65 and over
- Those with diabetes
- People who have a chest problem or breathing difficulties (such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema)
- People with a heart problem
- Anyone with kidney disease or liver disease
- Those with a neurological condition (such as Parkinson’s or motor neurone disease)
- People who have a low immune system due to disease (such as cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
- Anyone who has had a stroke
- People who have a problem with the spleen (such as sickle cell disease) or if the spleen has been removed
You should also have the vaccine if you live in a residential or nursing home or are the main carer of an older or disabled person. GPs will be writing to their patients to invite them to attend a vaccination session. Flu vaccine is also available through high-street pharmacists. For more information about flu and vaccination go to http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Flu/Pages/Introduction.aspx or talk to your local pharmacists or GP practice.