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T'is the season for flu

Fiona King

Ours lives roll around an annual cycle.... birthdays, car MOT, house insurance, flu jab, Christmas.

I have been an asthmatic from the age of seven. It's a family trait - my mum has it, my grandad had it - I've inherited it along with the blue eyes!

I keep my condition controlled by drugs and I am lucky to have never been hospitalised with it. As an asthma sufferer I am entitled to a free flu jab at my doctors. I remember having flu twice in my life once as a child and the last time as an adult - and I thought I was dying! Even though I get the flu jab every year sometimes the strain that infects me is not covered, but a strike rate of one since the opportunity to have the jab was offered isn't bad.

Due to my condition, if I get flu I have to increase my medication, I'll need antibiotics for a secondary chest infection and steroids too. And we're not just talking about a week... last time it was three weeks and I was still having difficulty breathing!

So it is really worth my while getting the jab, a few minutes waiting at the docs, a quick prick and generally just a sore arm for a day or two. It's easy to attribute any snuffles that I may have to the jab - but that's not possible as the virus in the jab is not active.

But, now it's even more important for me to get the jab - not just for myself but for my husband who has relapse remitting multiple sclerosis. If he gets a virus or infection it can overload his system and send him into an episode. Symptoms can last six months and include weak left side, double vision and extreme fatigue, which all mean work is out of the question. So minimising the chances of him getting flu is really important to us. I insist he has the flu jab too.

So if you ask me whether it is worth getting, I'm going to say yes. Reducing the risk of vulnerable people getting the flu for the sake of a little time and an achy arm... worth it every time. 

If you are over 65, pregnant, have a long term health condition, a carer or health and social care professional or live in a care home you are eligible for a free flu jab

More information about flu and its symptoms

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