Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 12:34 UK

Flu jab call for 'at risk' groups

m 'Don't let the flu turn on you' campaign
The flu vaccination adverts will be used on radio, television and billboards.

Over 65s, people with heart and lung conditions and NHS staff are being urged to get their free flu jab.

The Scottish Government has launched an advertising campaign to maximise uptake of the annual vaccination.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon voiced concern that some people did not think it necessary to get their jab, and others did not know they were eligible.

"Don't let the flu turn on you" warns that flu is much more than a cold and can cause further health problems.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Quite often older people and those with long term medical conditions such as chronic breathing and heart problems manage their condition well and can feel they are in good health.

AT RISK GROUPS
Serious breathing problems
Serious heart conditions
Diabetes
Severe kidney or liver disease
Serious neurological conditions
Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
Problems with spleen
Any other serious medical condition

"It is understandable that some people may feel it's not necessary to get their jab but it's vital that as we approach the winter months, those at greater risk are prepared."

The 475,000 campaign runs until 30 November and the adverts will be used on radio, television and billboards.

Chair of the National Flu and Pneumococcal Group, Dr Jim McMenamin, warned about the potential consequences of not getting the jab.

He said: "Every year people develop complications from flu that may mean weeks of treatment from their GP or, worse still, admission to hospital.

"Sadly we still see a number of people who die from the complications of flu every year."

Lindsay Scott, of Help the Aged in Scotland, said predictions of a colder winter and recent increases in the cost of fuel could mean pensioners would face a particularly difficult winter.

She added: "It's important that people take every step they can to avoid becoming casualties of the cold weather.

"The flu virus changes every year and that's why it's crucial to have a flu jab once a year."

The vaccination programme runs in surgeries and medical centres across Scotland.




SEE ALSO
Ministers plan for flu pandemic
22 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Pandemic flu drug order doubles
22 Nov 07 |  Health

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