Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group
Over 65: Reduce your flu risk with free vaccine
09 October 2017

Everyone over the age of 65 can have the flu vaccine; available from your GP or local pharmacy for free. The risk of serious illness from flu and consequent hospitalisation and death is higher among those aged 65 years and older as they are more likely to have an underlying health problem and the immune system does not work as well. The best way for people at risk from flu to protect themselves is to have the flu vaccination.

Flu is a highly infectious disease. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. For most healthy people, a bad bout of flu is worse than a heavy cold usually requiring someone to spend a few days in bed. However, serious infections, especially in those with underlying health conditions, although less common, can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability and even death.

It is caused by viruses that are spread from person to person. They infect the respiratory system, where they can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually.

Flu is spread by coughs and sneezes that propel infected droplets of saliva or nasal secretions into the air which are then breathed in by others. The disease is also spread by people touching surfaces that the droplets have landed on and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. This is why frequent hand washing or using an antiseptic hand rub is so important during the winter flu season.

The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly. 

Many GP Practices hold large flu vaccination clinics. It is best to find out dates and times by checking on Practice websites or by telephoning the Practice direct.  

For more information on flu, visit the NHS website.