The Flu Vaccination 2014

The flu jab

Flu vaccination by injection, commonly known as the “flu jab” is available every year on the NHS to protect adults (and some children) at risk of flu and its complications.

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

  • anyone over the age of 65
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease)
  • children and adults with weakened immune systems

Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to protect them.

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS as an annual injection to:

  • adults over the age of 18 at risk of flu (including everyone over 65)
  • children aged six months to two years at risk of flu

Find out more about who should have the flu jab.

Flu nasal spray vaccination

The flu vaccine is given as an annual nasal spray to:

  • children aged two to 17 years at a particular risk of flu
  • healthy children aged two, three and four years old

Read more about the flu nasal spray for children.

How the flu jab helps

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.

There is also evidence to suggest that the flu jab can reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Over time, protection from the injected flu vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains often change. So new flu vaccines are produced each year which is why people advised to have the flu jab need it every year too.

Read more about how the flu jab works.

Flu jab side effects

Serious side effects of the injected flu vaccine are very rare. You may have a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days after having the jab, and your arm may be a bit sore where you were injected.

Read more about the side effects of the flu jab.

When to have a flu jab

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to early November, but don’t worry if you’ve missed it, you can have the vaccine later in winter if there are stocks left.

The flu jab for 2014/15

Each year, the viruses that are most likely to cause flu are identified in advance and vaccines are made to match them as closely as possible. The vaccines are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The 2014/15 vaccine protects against three types of flu virus. This year’s flu jab protects against:

  • H1N1 – the strain of flu that caused the swine flu pandemic in 2009
  • H3N2 – a strain of flu that can infect birds and mammals and was active in 2011
  • B/Massachusetts/2 – a strain of flu that was active in 2012

The nasal spray flu vaccine offers protection against four strains of virus, as it includes a virus strain that was active in 2008.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t have the flu jab?

Most adults can have the injected flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had aserious allergic reaction to a flu jab in the past.

Read more about who shouldn’t have the flu vaccine.

You can find out more by reading the answers to the most common questions that people haveabout the flu vaccine.

Instructions for spirometry

Instructions for Spirometry.

Spirometry can be used to diagnose and monitor severity of a variety of lung conditions. 

Spirometry is a common test of the functionality of your lungs. It involves you blowing into a machine and is usually done at your GP practice. It can diagnose a number of lung conditions, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

We have outlined some instructions for you to follow if you need to have a spirometry test.

you can download this leaflet by clicking on this link. Instructions for Spirometry

•Prior to testing, the patient’s condition should be stable (ideally 6 weeks since the last exacerbation but spirometry should be performed before hospital discharge for an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
•Standing is not mandatory but may provide better results. Sitting is safer for the elderly and infirm; if sitting, then the patient should sit straight up, with their head slightly extended.
•Breathe in maximally.
•Hold the mouthpiece between the teeth, and then apply the lips for an airtight seal.
•Breathe out as hard and as fast as possible. The patient should aim for maximal flow at the moment expiration starts. With handheld devices, watch the vane rotating, and make sure it does not start rotating while the spirometer is brought to the lips, thus avoiding artefacts.
•Keep breathing out until the lungs are ’empty’.
•Some get the users to practise just emptying their lungs, ie to do a slow vital capacity (SVC – the amount of air that can be breathed out during the largest possible breath when breathing gently) before getting them to repeat the same as quickly as possible. This allows comparison of the SVC with the forced vital capacity (FVC – the maximum amount of air a person can expel from the lungs after a maximum inspiration) and allows the user to discard poor attempts where the FVC is below the expiratory volume.
•Limit the total number of attempts (practice and recording) to eight.
Three satisfactory blows should be performed and best values taken for interpretation. Criteria for satisfactory blows are:
•The blow should continue until a volume plateau is reached – this may take more than 12 seconds in severe COPD.
•FVC and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) readings should be within 5% or 100 ml.
•The expiratory volume-time graph should be smooth and free from irregularities.

My Health

Asthma

airway

Asthma is a common condition that affects the airways. The typical symptoms are wheeze, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Treatment usually works well to ease and prevent symptoms. Treatment is usually with inhalers. A typical person with asthma may take a preventer inhaler every day (to prevent symptoms developing), and use a reliever inhaler as and when required (if symptoms flare up).

HOW TO USE AN INHALER.

If you would like to see a video on how to use an inhaler, please click on this link. 

Asthma – Condition Leaflet
This leaflet gives an outline of asthma
Click Here – Asthma
Asthma – Peak Flow Meter
This leaflet outlines how you can monitor you asthma with a peak flow meter
Click Here – Asthma – Peak Flow Meter

Asthma App

We recommend this app. My Asthma Log as an Android App to give children, young people and parents another user friendly format of this individualised asthma management tool.