Why the flu jab is important to me

Carol, Jean and Laura, who live with lung conditions, tell us why they get the flu jab every year.

Carol

Carol and her experience of the flu jab - British Lung Foundation

I was diagnosed with asthma as a young adult and used to suffer terribly from the flu. I would be bedridden and off sick from work for 2 weeks at a time. So I started to have the flu jab every year and haven’t had flu since – that was over 25 years ago.

I’ve since been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which makes it even more crucial for me to be protected from the flu virus.

To anyone like me who has concerns about getting the flu jab, I would say it’s well worth it. 

To anyone like me who has concerns about getting the flu jab, I would say it’s well worth it. I still get colds, but they’re nothing compared to what I’d experience with flu – it would knock me flat. If you have any kind of lung condition your defences are already low, so it’s important to do anything you can to help them. You might get an achy arm for a day or two, but that’s much better than being in bed for 2 weeks, or worse.

I’m always blown away by how few people with lung conditions get the flu jab. It’s free! And it not only benefits you, it also benefits people who can’t have the jab because they’re allergic to it. After all, more people getting the jab means more people who are protected, making it less likely the flu can be passed around.

Now that we have the threat of COVID-19 to contend with I feel it’s more important than ever to get a flu vaccination.  We all need to do our bit to keep well in the event of another major outbreak.

Jean

Jean and her experience of the flu jab - British Lung Foundation

I’ve been getting the flu jab for as long I can remember. I used to work in a supermarket and was in contact with lots of people. I always felt protected by getting the jab.

Then one year I thought I wouldn’t bother. This was a big mistake! I got the most awful virus. 

Then one year I thought I wouldn’t bother. This was a big mistake! I got the most awful flu. Since then have got the jab every year without fail. Last year I was diagnosed with asthma and now get a jab for free. Before, I’d had to pay.

I think it’s so important for everyone to get the flu jab. You’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting those around you who might not have strong immune systems. My late partner had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and suffered from chest infections – it was important we were both protected from viruses, so I didn’t pass any onto him. My mum is now 91 and also suffers badly with chest infections. 

It’s good to get protected and know you’re not just getting it for yourself, but for the people around you. This year it’s more vital than ever to consider getting the flu jab. I will certainly be getting mine, as will my Mum who also needs the protection.

Laura

I was born prematurely and nearly died from croup as a child. Every year I’d get chest infections – until I started having the flu jab 18 years ago when I became a full-time carer for my husband.

As I was a carer, my GP insisted I had a flu jab at the same time as my husband. 

As I was a carer, my GP insisted I had a flu jab at the same time as my husband. Since having the jabs, I’ve not had a chest infection. 

Now I’m entitled to a jab due to my own medical conditions and firmly believe everyone who’s offered it, should have it. I used to work as a nurse, but we weren’t offered flu jabs when I was working. Otherwise I would have had one! It’s so important that health care professionals who come into contact with so many members of the public are protected by the jab.

I think a lack of understanding around vaccination is 1 of the reasons people don’t get the flu jab. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who will listen to me! Last year, I persuaded a friend who had constant chest infections to get the flu jab. Because of her medical conditions she was entitled to one, but had always put it off in case she got the flu. She had no problems with the jab and felt a lot better!

This year, the NHS are rolling out their biggest ever flu vaccine programme. Find out if you're eligible for a free flu jab today. If you're not eligible, you can get your vaccine at your local pharmacy or pharmacy counter for a small cost.


Comments

I feel my comments from before are still very much applicable today. The flu jab won't prevent you from getting the coronavirus, but the flu is just as much a killer, except we don't get informed how many die from the flu each year. Get the flu injection please.
I think it’s crazy not to be vaccinated. I’ll be first in the queue if there’s a COVID vaccine. I’ve had all the other vaccines. There is a lot of misunderstanding and fear of side effects. I think I’d risk any side effects from a COVID vaccine , as my chances of surviving are not very high, having COP, one of the rare lung diseases and taking reasonably high doses of prednisolone   Meanwhile I’m spending a lot of time at home not seeing many people and then only outdoors. Not sure how it will be with winter coming. I’m fortunate to live in an area where cases are low, so have been out once or twice to restaurants I feel are safe. 
I used to have severe chest infections 4 to 5 times a year. COPD and pulmoniary fibrosis. After moving away from London to Wales and with cleaner rural air i found with flu vacc and pneumonia vacc i have reduced the episodes of chest infections immensely. So important to watch health and have good balanced diet and stay warm. Keep safe everyone. X

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30 September 2020

Last medically reviewed: September 2020. Due for review: September 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.