FLU season is upon is and if you're prone to getting the dreaded bug then you might be thinking about booking your flu jab.
The flu jab is a safe and effective shot that is offered every year on the NHS and through high street pharmacies such as Boots to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill.
More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While some people are eligible to get the flu jab free on the NHS you can also pay for it privately through pharmacies such as Boots for £14.99.
People who are 50 and over, who have certain health conditions and are pregnant are eligible for a free flu jab through the NHS.
Boots also offers the free flu jab in most of its pharmacies for people who are eligible.
Boots kicked off its winter flu jab service on September 17.
Between September and March 2022 it's aiming to administer three times the number of flu jabs compared to the 2020-21 season.
Chief pharmacist at Boots, Marc Donavon advised people to book their flu jabs as soon as possible.
He said: "With low prevalence over the past months possibly leading to a drop in flu immunity among the population, vaccinating against flu is even more important than in previous years.
“You can help to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu by booking a vaccination appointment as early as possible."
How to book your flu jab at Boots
First you need to visit the Boots winter flu page.
You then click the blue 'book now' button which will direct you to the next page where you can pick which nation you live in.
Once you have selected your nation, you will then be prompted to select your age group.
Depending on your answer, you might need to state whether or not you will turn 50 years old on or before 31st March 2022, as this will determine whether or not you are eligible for a free flu vaccine through the NHS.
You will also be asked if you are pregnant, and whether you have any of the following health conditions:
- Asthma (treated with a preventer inhaler)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other long-term lung condition
- A long-term heart condition
- Kidney or liver disease
- A neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease or MS
- A learning disability
- A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more (severely overweight)
What are the symptoms of flu?
The NHS explains that the main symptoms include a fever of more than 38C, a chesty cough, headache, tiredness and aching muscles as well as a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing.
Some people can also experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea or joint and limb pain.
It usually takes between one and three days for flu symptoms to develop after catching the virus.
In most cases people feel better after a week.
It is spread in droplets, meaning that anyone sneezing, coughing or talking up to six feet away from you can spread it to you.
People who have been vaccinated have a much better chance of fighting it off. The NHS offers vulnerable people free vaccinations.
The incubation period (between exposure and symptoms) is between one and four days.
After symptoms have begun, adults are contagious for five to 10 days but children can be contagious for longer.
You will also be asked if you or someone you live with has a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or if you are a carer or social worker or live in long term care.
Once you've answered all of the health questions you'll then be directed to the next page which will allow you to choose where you want to get the jab and at what time.
You will be shown a selection of different Boots pharmacies close to your postcode area. Once you choose a pharmacy you will be able to book a slot.
You can only book appointments up to 28 days from now.
The private jab costs £14.99 in England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and £19.99 in Jersey.
You will be prompted to pay for the service online if you are not eligible for a free jab.
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