Don’t See The Point Of The Flu Jab? Think Again?

Pool's cool - you won't catch a cold from having wet hair - so don't pass up the chance to enjoy a swim
Simon Bowers has been a GP in South Liverpool for 13 years. He comes to us each month to talk health. Follow him on Twitter @SIbowers
Simon Bowers has been a GP in South Liverpool for 13 years. He comes to us each month to talk health. Follow him on Twitter @SIbowers
YOU may be wondering whether it’s worth getting the flu jab and my answer, in most cases, is most definitely yes! For healthy people, flu is unpleasant, but will usually clear up on its own within a week. However, flu can be more severe in certain people and lead to nasty chest infections and pneumonia, which in turn, lead to hospitalisation and even death. I wholeheartedly recommend an annual flu jab for children, pregnant woman, people aged over 65 and those with underlying health condition like asthma, diabetes, heart, lung and liver disease. These people may have a weakened immune system and so it is important that they get the flu jab. Plus it’s very safe. People worry that they will actually get the flu if they have the jab but that’s not the case as it is not a live vaccine so you will not be given a dose of the flu. You may get a sore arm and mild side effects but they should go within a couple of days. Now is the best time to get your flu jab, as when the weather gets colder, people spend more time indoors, coming into closer contact with others which helps the flu virus to spread. Scientists adapt the different flu vaccine each year, according to which strain of the virus is likely to be prevalent. Last year’s was brilliant at helping to prevent the spread of flu and this year’s should be no different. The flu jab helps to reduce hospital admissions too. The more people have the jab, the less people will get flu and have to go to hospital, and as the NHS is already struggling, you can do your bit to lessen the strain on our over-stretched healthcare system and help to save the NHS. No one wants to be in hospital over Christmas, so you can help yourself by booking an appointment to get your flu jab today. The injected flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS annually to children in the first two years of primary school and adults with a risk of flu including pregnant woman, children under two, people with long-term health conditions and those over 65. All Carers and Health workers should get a jab too. I’ve had mine! You can have your NHS flu jab at your GP surgery or community pharmacy offering the service. It’s vital to keep fit and health during the colder months. Be as active as you can – wrap up warm and make the most of those crisp autumn days by going for a nice walk. It’s also important to keep an eye on elderly members of the family, friends or neighbours during the winter months. Make sure they keep warm and well, call your local healthcentre or social services if you have any concerns. Top Marks For Hospitals BIG Congratulations to both Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and the Walton Centre who recently received outstanding in The Care Quality Commission inspection. This is the highest possible rank to be awarded by the health watchdog and only 9 hospitals in the country have been awarded this level. Will swims leave my girl with a cold? My daughter is due to start swimming lessons with her school this winter but she has very long hair and I am worried that she won’t dry it properly after swimming and will go back to school with wet hair, leading to her catching a cold. Dr Simon says: “The only thing wet hair leads to is a wet head. Getting cold does not lead to the risk of catching the cold virus. However, the benefits of the exercise your daughter will get will far outweigh the risks of catching a cold!” Does eating lots of garlic help to ward off colds and flu? Dr Simon says: “Garlic has been traditionally been used to prevent colds but there is no evidence that this is due to anything more than your garlic breath keeping people away from you!. However, garlic preparations can help to lower blood pressure!” If you have a question for Dr Simon, email us at editorial@goodnewsliverpool.co.uk