OLDHAM COUNCIL is supporting a major national drive to help people stay well this winter.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign, by Public Health England and NHS England, kicks off with a national flu vaccination programme for children, seeking to help over four million two to seven year olds – around 600,000 more than last year.
These youngsters will be given the vaccination in the form of a painless, nasal spray at their GP surgery (2-4 year olds) or at their school (5-7 year olds).
This year, the programme has been extended to included those in school year 3 so more children than ever can be vaccinated.
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: “Flu can be much more dangerous for children than many parents realise, and when children get flu, they tend to spread it around the whole family.
“Every year, thousands of children have flu and it is not uncommon for them to be admitted to hospital.
“The single best way to help protect your children, and the rest of the family, is to get them vaccinated. For most, it is just a quick, easy and painless nasal spray.”
As in previous years, the adult flu vaccine will also be offered for free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu:
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 or over
- Those aged under 65 with long-term conditions
The campaign will also urge people over 65 or those with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease or respiratory illness, to prepare for winter with advice on how to ward off common illnesses.
Councillor Eddie Moores, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I make sure I have my flu vaccine every year. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your family from catching the flu.
“I would encourage everyone who is eligible to have the free vaccine, to have it.”
We’re once again offering free flu vaccinations to our frontline Health and Social Care staff. It is important to protect themselves and patients from infection.”
Each year, Oldham Council provides winter health advice and support to residents, not least through its pioneering Warm Homes scheme.
In the last year alone, the scheme has helped nearly 600 households out of fuel poverty, saving them around £600,000 off their energy bills and ensuring they can afford to keep their heating on in winter.
It also helps local people pay for home improvements, such as boilers and insulation as well as offering support from qualified advisors in saving energy and maximising income.
Councillor Moores added: “During the cold weather it is very important we all go the extra mile and look after people who we think may be a little vulnerable.
“Everyone can do their bit to help reduce the risk of people feeling lonely or isolated. Just knocking on a neighbour’s door to see if they are alright or nipping round for a cup of coffee could make a lot of difference to them.
“One of the biggest issues in winter, especially for older people, is not being able to get out and about as much. It is more important to stay in contact with friends and family, and make the most of events and activities happening in the community.”
The other important messages of the NHS ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign are to:
- Make sure you get your flu jab if eligible
- Keep yourself warm – heat your home to least 18 degrees C or (65F) if you can
- If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious
- Make sure you get your prescription medicines before pharmacies close on Christmas Eve. Always take your prescribed medicines as directed
- Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.
For more information please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/winter