Pharmacist tells story of her own flu battle ahead of annual campaign

As the trust launches its flu campaign today, pharmacy technician Rebecca Raddigan has shared her own experience of battling the virus last year.

This time last year Rebecca, who is 25, was working for Boots and was offered a free flu jab by the company.

She said: “Though Boots offered it, I chose not to be immunised. My thinking was that if there was any shortage of vaccines then there were others who would need it more than me. I also assumed I would be okay, since I had never had the flu before.

“How wrong I was. It was in the December time when I started to feel very unwell. I had no energy and started to feel even worse.

“I started to feel very bunged up and had a fever. I was trying any way I could to stay warm but it was just making me feel worse and worse.

“I was getting headaches and ended up blacking out, even hitting my head against the wall as I was so unbalanced.

“I felt awful. I rang 111 and I was admitted to the emergency assessment unit at North Tees. I stayed there for two days and had a really hard time. I had to be confined to a room on my own, it was not a nice experience.

“After I was discharged and arrived back at my home, I was still housebound for another three weeks. Even getting out of bed and taking a few steps was a huge chore.

“I had no idea it would affect me like that. It was terrible.”

Rebecca has vowed never to make the same decision again – she says she will be one of the first staff to ask to have her flu jab this year.

She said: “After what happened last year, they can jab me in both arms this year if they wanted! I never want to ever get the flu again.

“I also have family reasons why I would never take that chance again – my mum suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and I need to ensure I am protected. I also have nieces and nephews and wouldn’t want to take a chance on their health. I also have patients who I care for here who need to be protected.

“I would encourage all staff to make sure they are also protected this winter.”

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