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NHS Worcestershie is urging people at risk of flu to get protected and have the vaccine.

Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some.

From October 2012, those people at most risk will be encouraged to get flu safe with a free flu jab from their GP.  The NHS in England is launching the new Flu Safe campaign to remind people that they should get a flu jab. Flu Safe is a national message to highlight the importance of getting the jab, and carries facts about flu to dispel common misconceptions.

Four groups have been identified as being most at risk:

  • Pregnant women
  • People with long term conditions which can be anything from diabetes to asthma, heart disease and multiple sclerosis
  • Carers
  • People over 65 years

Flu is different to getting a cold and the effects of seasonal flu are often underestimated. Some people are more at risk from flu and need the vaccine because they are not able to fight off flu as easily as others. It can often result in more serious complications which require hospital treatment and the figures from last winter show that sometimes there can be devastating consequences.

Flu is a highly infectious illness caused by a virus. It changes every year as does the vaccine to fight it, so it is important that those at risk protect themselves every year. Getting the free jab helps protect them and their loved ones.

There are lots of myths around the flu jab. Please take the time to read our Flu Fighter mythbuster click here.

There are additional ways people can protect themselves and those around them. Good hand hygiene - the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' technique reduces the spread of germs. This means carrying tissues, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, disposing of the tissue after one use, and cleaning hands as soon as possible with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel.

You may also want to visit the NHS Choices website for a comprehensive overview about Flu, its symptoms and how to treat it: http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/pages/fluandthefluvaccine.aspx

You can also call NHS Direct on this number: 0845 46 47

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