How does the Winter Flu Jab Service protect against flu?
The Winter Flu Jab Service helps protect against the viruses responsible for causing most cases of flu including the H1N1 virus (swine flu).
Am I able to get a free NHS vaccination from my doctor?
You may be entitled to a free NHS flu vaccination from your doctor, if you are:
- Aged 65 or over
Or, if you have any of the following conditions:
- Lung disease including asthma
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (e.g. steroid medication or cancer treatment) or removal of the spleen
- Neurological disease
If you are involved in caring for someone whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill, you may also be entitled to a free NHS flu vaccination. This includes:
- Front-line healthcare workers
- Residents of nursing or residential homes
- People who are in receipt of a carer's allowance
- Those who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person
Are there any side effects connected with a flu vaccination?
Most of the side effects are not serious and should disappear on their own in a day or two. The most common* side effects include:
- Feeling unwell
- Muscle and joint pain
- Skin reactions such as redness, pain, bruising and hardening of the skin at the injection site
*Common is defined as greater than or equal to 1 in 100 and less than 1 in 10.
Rare reactions include:
- Nerve pain and inflammation
- Thromboctyopaenia (a blood disorder)
- Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
- Rare nerve disorders
- On rare occasions anaphylaxis may occur (we have procedures in place to deal with this)
You should get medical advice if you experience any of these reactions.
Will I develop flu from the vaccination?
No, you will not contract flu from the vaccination.
Can I still catch flu after having the vaccination?
Being vaccinated is likely to provide effective protection against the virus responsible for causing most cases of flu. However there is still a small chance that you will catch seasonal flu. After the vaccination it takes between 10-21 days for it to become fully effective against these viruses so it is sensible to organise your vaccination as early as possible.
Do I need to tell my doctor if am coming to Boots for a flu vaccination?
We recommend that you tell your doctor you have been vaccinated so that your medical records can be updated.
What is influenza (flu)?
Flu is caused by different strains of influenza viruses, which are passed around by coughing and sneezing and through hand contact. Your best protection against flu is hand washing. Regularly washing your hands with hot water and soap will help to get rid of potentially harmful germs that lead to flu. Each year a different strain of the virus can cause a new outbreak of flu and this is sometimes called seasonal flu.
What are the symptoms of flu?
Although everyone can experience different symptoms of flu, the most common ones are:
- High temperature (fever)
- Muscle aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Sore throat
- Catarrh, feeling blocked up
How long does flu last?
The main symptoms of flu normally peak after two or three days and within five to eight days you should feel a lot better. Sometimes symptoms like catarrh may last a little longer. The symptoms and the length of time they last will vary from person to person. They tend to be more severe in the very young and the elderly and other vulnerable groups who should take individual advice if they develop flu.
What is swine flu?
Swine flu is caused by a particular strain of influenza, a virus which is called influenza A (H1N1v).
What's the difference between a cold and the flu?
It's often difficult to know whether you have flu or a cold but here are some tips for understanding the differences:
- The symptoms of flu tend to come on very quickly, much more so than a common cold.
- You are far more likely to run a fever with flu than with a cold. This can be 38°C/100°F or higher.
- With flu you are more likely to feel extremely tired and ache all over. The tiredness will last a lot longer than with a cold.