Vaccine offers the best defence against flu in the months ahead

Scottish Government column on seasonal flu
Scottish Government column on seasonal flu

Flu is much worse than a bad cold and can make even healthy people very unwell.

The best defence against flu is this year’s vaccine.

Over the last five years, around 500 deaths have occurred each winter which can be related to flu, so it is vitally important to protect yourself against the dangers of the flu virus.

The free flu vaccine is available at GP surgeries and clinics to protect people from the most common strains of flu circulating this winter.

The vaccine only takes a few seconds to get, takes around ten days to work and will help provide protection from flu for around a year.

One person who ensures she gets her flu vaccine 
annually is Nicola Kerr (45), from Bo’ness.

An asthmatic, Nicola suffered badly from a severe bout of flu in January 2011 and it had a massive impact on her health. She was ill for six months after contracting flu and felt the impact of the virus for 18 months.

She said: “I receive the flu vaccine every year due to having asthma. My underlying condition means I can receive the vaccine for free at my local GP surgery.

Nicola said: “In 2011 I did not make the time for the flu vaccine. I hadn’t been unwell with a bad cold or the flu for some years, and naively thought I would not be affected by flu.

“Unfortunately I caught flu very severely. I woke up one morning in January with aching muscles and a high fever. I felt sick, dizzy and exhausted and immediately knew I was very unwell.

“It took about three months for me to start to feel better but even then I was feeling the ill effects of having caught flu.

“The flu vaccine is quick and painless and after having it I feel reassured that I am better protected from flu.

Nicola added: “I believe that your health is not something you should risk, especially if you suffer from underlying illnesses or have been ill from flu before.”

Show flu who’s boss by getting the vaccine. For more about the seasonal flu immunisation programme visit or call NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.