Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford and DUP spokesperson for health, has encouraged people who are elderly or who may be vulnerable due to poor health to ensure that they take the time to get the flu jab.
Mr Shannon said: “Flu is an unpredictable virus that can cause mild or unpleasant illness in most people. It can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.
“Certain people are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. These people are advised to have a flu jab each year. Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma (which requires an inhaled or tablet steroid treatment, or has led to hospital admission in the past), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema or bronchitis.
* 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 or multiple sclerosis (MS)
* problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
* a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
* being seriously overweight (BMI of 40 or above).
“As a diabetic, my doctor’s surgery contacts me to inform me of flu jab surgeries and it is so important that if you are on the list of people vulnerable to the flu that you take the time to get this jab and possibly save yourself a miserable winter of flu.”