By Melanie Maughan, wellbeing manager here at the NHSBSA.

Hi, I’m Mel. I’ve worked at the NHSBSA for around 8 years. I’m part of the HR directorate and recently my focus has been helping to support our colleagues with their physical and mental health.

#FluSeason is here

On average, 600 people in the UK die every year from flu related complications.

Which is why, here at the NHSBSA, we want to make sure that our employees are protected. For a lot of us, catching flu can mean time off work and having to recover from unpleasant symptoms – you really know about it when you come down with a really serious bout!

It’s also important to acknowledge that for some employees, those who have long-term, underlying health conditions such as asthma or a disability, having flu can be life threatening.

Helping our wellbeing champions

We know that people put off going to get any vaccine, let alone the flu vaccine! This is why we decided to organise free flu vaccination clinics for employees, whether that’s at our larger site or vouchers for those who work in our smaller offices around the country.

It’s easy and convenient.

Not only are we saving money by reducing sickness absence but we’re also helping to reduce the pressure on the wider NHS during the hectic winter months.

I managed to get a photo of our CEO, Alistair McDonald getting his flu vaccination at our larger site. Thanks, Alistair!

The threat of flu

Imagine if you have someone dependent on you like an elderly mum or dad, three noisy under-fives, or a friend that you have to support on a daily basis.

Would you be able to manage this whilst having the flu? Or if you have a serious health condition where catching the flu could end up in a hospital stay?

My story, my son

I know first-hand the huge impact that catching flu can have as a parent of a child with a long term complex disability. For my family, this time of year can be incredibly daunting as a common cold or flu can turn our already stressful world completely upside down. If my son catches it, his symptoms can last for weeks and can result in him losing huge amounts of weight or even worse, being admitted to hospital. As you can probably appreciate, it’s a very worrying time.

Both my husband and I are militant about having our flu vaccination at the beginning of October and are the first in the queue at our local surgery for our vaccine. As carers we need to make sure that we’re well enough to take care of our son when he needs it the most.

‘Well, I never catch the flu’

A lot of people I speak to always say they don’t feel the need to have the flu vaccine as they never catch the flu. What they don’t realise is that although they mightn’t feel ill, they can still be carrying the virus and spread it to others.

This flu season, please think about getting the vaccine. It’s not just about protecting your own health, it’s about stopping the spread so that vulnerable people aren’t put at risk.

 

If you’d like more information on the flu vaccine, visit your local pharmacy or click here.

For more information about health and wellbeing at the NHSBSA, email melanie.maughan@nhs.net

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