OLDER people across Denbighshire and Conwy are being urged to protect themselves against flu this winter.

An annual Beat Flu immunisation programme has been launched across Wales. Those aged 65 or over, pregnant women and those with long term health conditions are being advised to get vaccinated.

Last year, about a third of the people in Wales aged 65 and over missed out on getting their flu vaccine. Public Health Wales are putting out a “clear message” to groups whose health may be at risk if taken unwell - Beat flu before it beats you.

Ian Thomas, Chief Executive of charity Age Cymru, said: “As part of our annual Spread the Warmth campaign, we’d like to urge people who are aged 65 or over and others in ‘at-risk’ groups, to take up the opportunity to have their annual flu vaccination. Flu comes around every winter and can be a serious and potentially debilitating illness, especially for older people.

“People who care for an older or disabled person should also have a flu vaccination, to help protect themselves as well as the people they are looking after.”

Annual flu immunisation is available to people in eligible groups free of charge through GPs and at community pharmacies.

Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Diseases Programme at Public Health Wales, added: “For most people flu is usually a relatively minor, albeit unpleasant and inconvenient, illness. But every year vulnerable people can, and do, die from flu and its many complications.”

The flu virus spreads via droplets which are sprayed into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with contaminated hands or surfaces can also caused the infection to spread.

Children aged two and three – on August 31 2016 – are being offered protection with a nasal spray flu vaccine. Youngsters aged four to seven years old can have the vaccine at school.