With winter fast approaching many of us will be thinking about having a flu jab.

Flu can strike at any time and can make you feel pretty awful. It can leave you bed ridden and unable to function for several days.

If you are a carer, it's even more important to think about being vaccinated. Flu often strikes 'out of the blue', leaving you with little ot no time to organise alternative care. It can also be distressing, and sometimes dangerous, for a vulnerable person who is suddenly left without support.

And of course, carers who aren't vaccinated are more likely to pass the virus onto the person they care for, who may be particularl susceptible to catching the flu and go onto develop life-threatening complications.

GP practices have benn offering free NHS flu vaccinations to carers for a number of years. Starting this autumn, many community pharmacies are able to provide free NHS flu vaccinations to carers as well, if the carer is aged 18 and over and the main carer (including those in receipt of Carer's Allowance) of an older or disabled person whose welfare would be at risk if the carer was ill.

With fewer than one in ten carers receiving a flu jab last year, it is hoped that offering busy carers the option of having a flu jab while they're waiting to collect someone's prescription or speak to the pharmacist will result in moe carers being vaccinated.

So, if you are a carer and haven't had your flu jab yet, either contact your GP practice or visit your local pharmacy and ask whether they are offering the service.

Yours sincerely

Geoff Foster

Chief Executive Officer

The Carer's Centre