We can ease pressure on NHS by getting a flu jab
- Credit: PA
Vaccination is something most of us try not to think about.
Let's face it, unless you're planning a trip to some country where insects are poised to inject some deadly germ into your body as soon as you step off the plane you are not going to think much about immunisation during your day-to-day life.
But today this column will devote itself to change that.
There are two reasons for this.
Firstly it is that time of year when NHS staff start bracing themselves for the consequences a cold winter brings on the population. And while almost everyone will agree that the health service is under enormous pressure from a growing number of patients, far fewer people will realise that they can indirectly help the situation.
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There are millions of people in our country who are at extra risk of getting flu, or of developing more serious conditions once the virus sets in.
That means more patients asking to see their GP, more ambulance call-outs, more hospitalisations, and potentially more deaths.
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But crucially these potential patients can give themselves at least a 50pc chance of avoiding any of the above by taking the flu jab.
The experience is quicker than dialling 111 - just a quick prick of the needle into your arm and suddenly your body's defences increase in power.
It is such a simple and harmless way to protect yourself.
The second reason for writing about vaccination is a sad one.
Last week this newspaper reported a tragic story in which a baby lost its life to an extremely rare illness.
The baby, aged just seven weeks, (not seven days as originally reported due to inaccurate information presented by the hospital in question) died of whooping cough - a condition which will set alarm bells ringing for the older members of our society.
Sadly, and through no fault of her own, the mother had not been vaccinated against the illness during pregnancy.
As a result fate cruelly intervened in brutal fashion and a life was taken far too soon.
A vaccination probably would have prevented that.
For all its pressures and current difficulties - the NHS offers a range of vaccinations to protect us from disaster.
Let's use that as much as we can.