Elderly people and pregnant women from the Melton area who have not yet had their free flu vaccination this winter are being urged to have it done.
Health leaders have issued the appeal this week as it emerged that nearly 200,000 people across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, who are in the ‘at-risk’ group, have not yet had the jab.
The vaccination is designed to help prevent flu this winter and stop the complications that can come for those at risk, who also include children aged two and three.
New figures show just under a third of over-65s in the two counties have not had the jab and that 63 per cent of pregnant women haven’t done so either.
And around three-quarters of young children, who are considered at risk of developing flu, have not been taken for their vaccinations yet.
Dr Fahad Rizvi, GP and NHS Urgent Care Lead for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: “There is still time to get your flu vaccination this winter.
“Make sure you are not struck down in bed with flu during the winter period and book your flu jab today.
“Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly.
“It can cause serious complications for at-risk groups, such as the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions.”
If you or your children are in the at-risk group and you’ve not yet had the flu vaccination you are advised to make an appointment to have it as soon as possible with your GP surgery or local pharmacy.
Dr Rizvi added: “We know that germs can be very easily picked up and spread amongst friends and family members.
“The flu vaccination helps protect local people in particular those identified in the at risk categories.
“My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it now before it is too late.
“It is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus, that’s why it’s free for people who need it.”
If there are no underlying health conditions like asthma, liver disease, diabetes or heart disease, the easiest way for someone to treat flu symptoms is by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower temperature and treat aches and pains, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, rest and sleep well and keep warm.