PEOPLE with long-term health conditions are being urged to get their flu vaccination this winter.

The NHS in Oxfordshire reported that catching flu is more serious for those with a long-term health condition and can make the effects of their existing condition worse.

An average of 11,000 people die annually due to flu-related complications, while research shows that if people get flu and coronavirus at the same time, they are more likely to be admitted to hospital.

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Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, GP and urgent care lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The flu is not the same as getting a cold. It can seriously affect your health and the risks of developing complications are greater for people within the ‘at-risk’ groups.

“Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to a stay in hospital, permanent disability or even death.”

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Dr. Raj Thakkar, long term condition lead for Hampshire and Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network at NHS England and NHS Improvement, added: “If you have a long-term health condition it is really important you have your free flu vaccination to protect yourself from the flu virus.

“This is because if you have diabetes, a long-term respiratory, heart, kidney, liver or neurological condition, are immunosuppressed, morbidly obese or have problems with your spleen, you are more likely to experience serious complications from flu, like pneumonia, and end up in hospital.

“The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu.

“GP practices and pharmacies have worked hard to put social distancing and other measures in place so you can have the flu vaccination in a safe environment.”