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Front-line carers get help in fight against flu.

HEALTH and social care agencies in North Wales are supporting the National Assembly's information campaign to persuade older people to stay fit and healthy this winter, as part of the Wales Emergency Pressure initiative. The campaign has four themes: flu vaccination, warm homes, eating well and home and personal safety.

Other organisations working in partnership include Age Concern Cymru, Food Standard Agency Wales, Care and Repair Cymru, Royal National Institute for the Blind, Wales Council for the Blind, NHS Direct Wales, National Energy Action, National Association of Citizen's Advice Bureau, and Wales Youth Agency.

THOSE who care for the elderly and the less able, in their own homes or at health centres, are being helped in the fight against flu.

Increasingly during winter, hospital beds are being taken up with the elderly and frail suffering from flu, or because their home care support network has broken down, when a simple precautionary measure could have prevented the admission.

Flu vaccinations are being offered to workers across North Wales at hospitals, care and nursing homes, in social services departments, and those who work with groups in the community.

And, for the first time, relatives who provide vital at-home care can now also receive flu jabs, thanks to joint funding by Flintshire Social Services and Flintshire Local Health Group.

Carys Williams of North East Wales Carers Information Service (NEWCIS) said: "The only criteria is that they provide unpaid care for family, friends or others in need of help because they are frail, or have a disability."

The front-line flu jabs are being offered as a preventative measure, to ensure that carers do not fall seriously ill, and in turn pass on the disease to those for whom they care, resulting in the person's admission to hospital.

Unpaid carers in North Wales can receive help and advice on a wide range of issues on Care Line on 0845 757 3570. Carers Outreach Services, which covers North-West Wales, is on 01248370797, or call NEWCIS on 01352-751436.

EVERY year thousands of people fall ill with flu, causing misery and upset to themselves, their families, friends and colleagues who have to cover their absence from work.

Those people who were healthy in the first place will weather the illness, with several days in bed while they recover from the fever, chills, aching muscles and cough or sore throats that come with flu. But for those who are old or have a chronic condition, catching flu can be serious, even fatal.

They may need to be admitted to hospital, putting extra pressure on the NHS while they recover from the virus, or secondary infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Yet, in many cases, the flu could have been prevented, with a simple vaccination. You can be vaccinated if you are over 65 or, whatever your age, you: Have a chronic heart or chest complaint, including asthma Have a chronic kidney disease Are diabetic Have lowered immunity Suffer from any other serious medical condition Live in an old people's home or nursing home However, you should not be vaccinated if you are pregnant, nor if you are allergic to hen's eggs, as these are used to produce the vaccine.


PROTECTED: Nurse Debbie Jones gives patient Dyfed Rowlands his flu jab at the Occupational Health Department in Mold
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 10, 2001
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