Every winter, the vast majority of unpaid Carers miss out on a free flu jab!

Did you know that Family Carers are entitled to request a free flu jab from their GP if they are the main carer for someone who’s ill or disabled and whose health would be at risk if they fell ill?

In 2013 only very small fraction of Carers received a flu jab in England.

If a Carer is struck down by the flu and becomes too ill to care, there may be no-one else who can step in to take over their caring role.  If a Carer looking after someone with a lowered immune system gets the flu, they can pass the virus on, even if the person they look after has had a flu jab.

FLU LEFT CARER COMPLETELY UNABLE TO CARE

When 59-year-old Mike came down with the flu, it wasn’t just his own health he was worried about.

Mike gave up his life in the States several years ago to become the main Carer for his 89-year-old father, whose health had seriously deteriorated.  Looking back, Mike is shocked by how badly the flu affected him. “There I was, lying on the settee, aching all over and struggling to keep my eyes open and all I could think about was how on earth my Dad was going to cope.  I’d been due to do the weekly shop at the supermarket so there was hardly any food in the house, aAnd even though Dad was desperate to help, there’s no way he could have coped with going to the shops on his own.”

Mike’s worries didn’t stop there, either. Due to a serious renal condition, his father has a catheter and relies on Mike to change the bag.

“In the end, I had to ask my 84 year-old Auntie for help” he says. “And her daughter was able to step in after a couple of days as well, but it wasn’t easy because she has a family of her own to look after.”

“I’ve never felt so ill in my life and as a carer for my Dad I just can’t afford to let it happen again. In the past, I’d always made sure Dad got his flu jab but I’d never considered how important it was for me to have one too. I guess I’ve learned the hard way.”

Don’t be like Mike and wait until you are ill – Act now!

You can request your free flu jab at your GP surgery.  Most surgeries hold flu clinics in October and November each year.  At the same time, make sure that you are registered as a Carer at your surgery, this should be recorded on your medical notes.  For more information please call the HCs office  01432 356068

DONT FORGET THE 2014 HEREFORDSHIRE CARERS SUPPORT GP AWARDS

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