This year, CMK Medical Centre are expecting a particularly nasty strain of flu. They are offering the following advice to residents to protect yourself and your family. In some cases medications may be free or at a low cost.
Flu vaccinations for adults are free of charge if you are in one of the eligible groups. If you are a patient at CMK Medical Centre and are in one of the eligible groups you would have been sent a letter or text message inviting you for a flu vaccination. If you are not sure if you are eligible please check our website www.cmkmc.co.uk which lists all the groups. We do not always have details of people who are Carers. If you are a Carer and have not received a letter or text inviting you to have a flu vaccination please contact the surgery for advice. Pharmacies and supermarkets offer flu vaccines for patients who are not entitled to a free NHS vaccine for a cost ranging between £5 and £12.
There is no charge for flu vaccinations for babies or children. All children aged 2 and 3 will be invited to the surgery for a nasal spray flu vaccination. Babies aged from 6 months in the ‘at risk’ group will also be invited. Local Schools are now responsible for ensuring that schoolchildren in reception and years 1, 2, 3 and 4 are offered the flu vaccination.
As well as flu, winter sees an increase in viral infections such as coughs, colds and sore throats. If you are aged under 16 or aged over 60 you are entitled to some basic free medication for these conditions, which you can get directly from the pharmacy without seeing a GP. The scheme is called ‘Pharmacy First’; it is also available to students, pregnant women and for people on some welfare benefits. ‘Pharmacy First’ also offers medication for other minor ailments, for more details about the scheme please see our website or collect a leaflet from the surgery reception or local pharmacy.
To help with the symptoms of coughs, colds and sore throats please wrap up warm and drink plenty of fluids. Use ‘Pharmacy First’ for basic medication such as paracetamol and Ibuprofen. These can be also be purchased at low cost from supermarkets, especially the supermarkets own brands. There is plenty of information on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk to help you stay well this winter.
One important topic frequently in the news is the use of antibiotics. There are guidelines for GP’s to follow regarding antibiotic prescribing. If you need to see a GP they will discuss your symptoms with you and if antibiotics are needed they will prescribe them for you. Many viral infections will clear up without the need to have antibiotics; it is only bacterial infections which may require their use. In some circumstances you may be given a delayed prescription by your GP for antibiotics. This should only be used if your symptoms continue.