The main seasonal flu virus currently circulating; identified as the A(H1N1) pdm09 virus, is the strain that affects children, pregnant women and adults with long term conditions like chronic heart disease, liver disease and respiratory disease in particular.
The latest details provided by Public Health England (PHE), show that the A(H1N1)pdm09 strain is emerging as the main seasonal flu virus active across UK and Europe.
With the mild winter we’ve experienced so far, current flu numbers are low, although this will change as colder weather sets in. Public Health Consultant, Marie Mcloughlin, from the local office of NHS England – South (Wessex), said: “ Now is the time for anyone in the at risk groups to make sure they have the Flu vaccine; especially children aged two to four years, pregnant women and adults with long term conditions like chronic heart disease, liver disease and respiratory disease in particular. Children and adults in at-risk groups should take up the offer of free vaccine before flu starts to circulate this winter. We know the main strain circulating this year will affect these groups, so it’s important that people protect themselves as soon as possible; avoiding the risk of further illness with potentially serious complications. The best way to do this is by having the vaccine.”
The Flu vaccine is available via your local GP practice or at your local participating pharmacy, and is free to those in the at risk groups.
A common myth is that people believe they can develop the Flu after having the vaccine; this is not possible. The injected vaccine (for adults) provides inactivated flu viruses that can’t give you the flu. Likewise, the nasal flu vaccine (for children), delivered easily and simply as a spray in each nostril, contains live but weakened viruses and will also not give the recipient the flu.
Another myth is people believing that if they’ve had the vaccine previously they are covered every year. This is not the case, flu viruses’ change each year and to avoid the flu you need to have a vaccination that matches the new virus. The vaccination usually provides protection for the duration of the current year’s virus.