Anton Du Beke, 53, is currently busy battling it out for the glitterball trophy on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing along with partner Emma Barton. But with the arrival of flu season, the dancer, who supports Asthma UK, found time to take to Twitter to issue a stark warning to fellow asthma sufferers when it comes to the flu jab.
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The star tweeted: “If you have any underlying health condition like asthma, getting flu could lead to serious complications or land you in hospital.
“I’ll be getting my free #fluvaccine to stay well this winter.
“Ask your GP or pharmacist to find out if you are eligible and how to get yours.”
Eight out of ten people with asthma say flu triggers their asthma symptoms, raising the risk of a life-threatening asthma attack,” according to Dr Andy, Asthma UK’s in-house GP.
When it comes to asthma sufferers getting a free flu vaccine, the asthma charity advises: “If you’ve been prescribed a preventer inhaler alongside your blue inhaler, you can get the flu vaccine for free.
“In some areas you can avoid the hassle of an appointment by going to your local pharmacy (take your brown inhaler or prescription with you to prove you’re eligible.)
“The best time to get the flu vaccine is in the Autumn, from the beginning of October to November.
“Your GP may be running flu clinics where you can just turn up and get vaccinated.”
But asthma sufferers shouldn’t just reply on vaccination. Taking preventer medicine as prescribed will also help keep triggers at bay all winter.
Children in England can get the vaccine at school from Reception to year six.
Children aged two and three, and 10 or older who have a preventer inhaler can get the vaccine at their GP’s surgery.
Other underlying medical conditions which fall under free flu vaccine eligibility include:
- Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- Problems with your spleen
- A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- Being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
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Who else is eligible for a free flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is free on the NHS for:
- Children over the age of 6 months with a long-term health condition
- Children aged 2 and 3 years on 31 August 2019 (that is, born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2017)
- Children in primary school
The NHS adds: “Children aged between 6 months and 2 years who are eligible for the flu vaccine will receive an injected flu vaccine.
“Children eligible for the flu vaccine aged between 2 and 17 will usually have the flu vaccine nasal spray.”
People aged 65 and over on 31 March 2020 are also eligible for a free vaccine.
The NHS adds: “Outbreaks of flu can occur in health and social care settings, and because flu is so contagious, staff, patients and residents are all at risk of infection.
“If you’re a frontline health and social care worker, you’re eligible for an NHS flu vaccine.
“It’s your employer’s responsibility to arrange vaccination for you. Find out what arrangements have been made at your workplace for providing flu vaccination.”
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