The mortality rate from communicable diseases including influenza in Rochdale borough is 14.3 per 100,000 population. This is above the England rate of 10.7 (Public Health England, 2014-16).
What is influenza (flu)?
Flu is a common infectious disease caused by the influenza virus which is mostly spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. Although you can catch flu all year round it's most common in winter.
Flu is different to the common cold as it's caused by a different group of viruses and the symptoms start suddenly, are more severe and last longer. GPs don't recommend antibiotics for flu because they don't relieve the symptoms or speed up your recovery.
Why are older people at increased risk of flu?
Older people and other at risk populations are more likely to get complications from the flu, including pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. This is because the immune response may be less effective and they may have more underlying diseases than younger adults which reduce resistance to infection. This can lead to hospital admissions and in some cases prove to be fatal.
As a prevention measure, yearly vaccinations are recommended by the World Health Organisation for those in high-risk population groups. Vaccinations for flu are available from September on the NHS and protect the receiver as well as reduce the spread of the virus through the population. Vaccinations are available from GP surgeries as well as at around 30 pharmacies around the borough.
Statistics on flu
- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - Older people's health and wellbeing profile - the Older People's Health and Wellbeing Profile can be used to examine the health and care of older people. It's designed to support those responsible for delivering strategies for prevention and early intervention to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults.
- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - Health protection profile - the Health Protection Profile covers a range of health protection issues, with information on various infections, but also interventions to reduce infection such as immunisation. The profile includes a section on immunisation and childhood vaccine for preventable diseases, which also includes data for flu vaccinations in older people.
Guidance on flu
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance - Influenza - NICE has produced a number of documents that cover flu including guidance on treatment and increasing vaccination uptake. Other guidance on this topic is also in development.