As flu season looms the Southern Trust is urging all staff to protect themselves, their patients and families by getting vaccinated against this highly infectious disease.
Throughout October health and social care workers can attend drop-in flu vaccination clinics across the Trust. Vaccinations will also be available on all wards and departments to make it more convenient for staff who have difficulty attending a clinic.
Catriona Campbell, Head of Occupational Health in the Trust, said: “Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter. It is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, aching muscles, a cough and sore throat, and because flu is a virus, antibiotics won’t help. People sometimes call a bad cold the flu, but really, having flu is much worse” said Ms Campbell.
“The flu protection only lasts for one flu season, so it is important to get vaccinated every year, ideally in October or early November to be ready to fight off infection. As it takes about two weeks for the vaccination to reach maximum protection, it is important to get your jab before flu starts circulating to make sure it works.
“As health care providers, we have a duty to protect our patients and clients by protecting ourselves so it is important for us all, particularly those delivering frontline care and in contact with vulnerable people, to have the flu vaccination,” she added.
Flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can cause unpleasant illness in children and severe illness and death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical health condition.
Studies have shown that the flu jab does work and will help prevent you getting the flu. It won’t stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary between people, so it’s not a 100% guarantee that you’ll be flu-free, but if you do get flu after vaccination it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.
For a full schedule of vaccination clinics, staff can visit the Trust Intranet site or contact the Occupational Health Team on Tel: 028 3741 2473.
For information on seasonal flu see www.fluawareni.info.
This site provides a comprehensive guide to flu including information for the public on who needs a seasonal flu vaccine.