The Flu affects 1000’s of people in Birmingham every year…
Influenza puts a huge strain on the UK every single year. More commonly known as the “flu”, the virus usually has a debilitating effect on a person’s health and in some rare cases, can even cause death. But not only is this disease affecting our health, it’s also costing the NHS millions each year and is putting huge pressures on GP and hospital services in Birmingham and the rest of the UK. Therefore, it’s absolutely in our best interest to prevent the contraction of flu for everyone involved.
For the reasons mentioned above, Birmingham and Solihull CCG are recommending that everyone in the city of Birmingham, Solihull and the surrounding areas gets vaccinated against the flu. By getting a flu jab, not only will you be protecting yourself against the contagion, you’ll be protecting those around you, in particular, those that are vulnerable like the elderly and those who have chronic lowered immune systems. The side effect of this is that we’ll all helping to save the NHS time, money and vital resources. And you can’t forget the fact that a single flu jab can you’ll reduce your risk of taking time off work.
In this informative blog post, we talk more about what the flu is, how the actual flu vaccine works and where you’re able to get the flu jab in Birmingham. We’ll be placing more of an emphasis on the communities where our pharmacies are located in the South of Birmingham i.e. Cotteridge and Weoley Castle. If you have questions about anything in this article, all you need to do is give us a call at our Cotteridge Branch (0121 433 3072) or our Weoley Castle branch (0121 477 7756) and our trained pharmacists will be more than happy to help you.
What is influenza (the flu)?
The flu is a very contagious virus of the respiratory tract (airways) that is easily spread throughout a populated area. It is transmitted by mucus (saliva) of the mouth through contact, such as kissing, coughing and sneezing. The most common types of flu that affect humans are the A and B strains, and they can affect all age, race and genders. There are other strains such as C and D types that affect us, but these are much less prevalent where we are.
Influenza can be caught at any time of the year but is most common in the UK during the winter months from October to March. In Birmingham, the flu virus affected thousands of people during the winter in 2017 and is expected to be similar or more in the winter of 2018. This would of been much, much higher if it weren’t for the flu vaccination.
What are the symptoms of influenza?
Flu symptoms are often confused with those symptoms of the common cold. Symptoms of the flu are typically much more severe than those of the cold and the affected person is normally so weak that they can’t get up out of bed. This, of course, depends on how you react to the infection since all of us are different and some people can have symptoms for up to 3 weeks post-contraction.
Symptoms of the flu may include:
– A headache and muscle pain
– Fever, sweating and shaking
– Continuous, productive cough (green mucus)
– Sore and painful throat
– A general feeling of fatigue and weakness
What is the flu jab and what is injected?
The flu jab is without absolutely the best form of protection against the influenza virus. It works because it contains a solution that acts like the flu virus. When introduced into your upper arm, it stimulates the body’s defense (immune) system. During this reaction, white blood cells are created and released that will help fight off the flu if you ever do become exposed to it. Although the vaccine is extremely effective, it’s not 100% effective (like all vaccines). However, it will protect you from around 95% of the most common strains seen in Birmingham and the rest of the UK.
It is recommended, as seen on the WHO website, that quadrivalent vaccines for use in the 2018-2019 northern hemisphere influenza season contain the following:
- an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus;
- a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (B/Victoria/2/87 lineage); and
- a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata/16/88 lineage).
After the flu jab has been administered, it takes around 3 weeks for that person to become protected; protection doesn’t occur overnight. Therefore, during that time, that person can still contract the flu. It is highly advised that they practice good hygiene during this period. That being said, good hygiene should always be a well-practiced habit for a generally healthy lifestyle.
Where and how do I get the flu jab in South Birmingham?
Your local pharmacy
There’s no question about it. Your local pharmacy is the easiest, most convenient way to access a flu jab in the area you live in. The Birmingham and Solihull CCG has recently commissioned pharmacies to provide the vaccine free under the NHS if you get it free from your doctor. Most pharmacies also offer a private service for a very affordable fee (usually between £10 and £15).
Some of your local pharmacists, just like ours, can even arrange to visit the company you work for and vaccinate all of the staff members in one go. This is in the best interest for the employer and employee, and Kings Pharmacies and Opticians will usually organise a discount in these situations.
Kings Pharmacies and Opticians offer the flu jab free under the NHS and privately for a very affordable fee. No appointments are required too. You can walk into our stores and get vaccinated there and then. However, if you’d like to book yourself in, give us a quick call at our Cotteridge Branch (0121 433 3072) or our Weoley Castle branch (0121 477 7756) we’ll schedule an appoint for you.
Your GP Surgery
Your local GP surgery can also administer the flu jab free of charge to those who come under certain criteria. If you don’t fall within this bracket, however, you’ll need to contact them to see if they can provide it for you on a private (paid) basis. GP surgeries generally tend to have an appointment-based system.
Keeping our community in South Birmingham, Cotteridge and Weoley Castle protected from the flu
The pharmacists in both of our branches are highly trained, and retrained every year, to provide the flu jab in your locality. If you’re a company owner, then we can arrange to vaccinate you at your place of work and your entire staff. Our goal is to keep the population of Birmingham as healthy as we can.
If you’d like to book yourself in to get a flu jab, give us a quick call at our Cotteridge Branch (0121 433 3072) or our Weoley Castle branch (0121 477 7756) we’ll schedule an appoint for you in less than 2 minutes.
Keep well this winter. Protect those around you. Get yourself vaccinated.
The Team at Kings Pharmacies and Opticians