As the winter season is upon us, Forward Carers advices you do the following:

  • Get your FREE flu jab. Make sure you protect yourself and the person you care for by having the flu jab. As a Carer, you can receive this free of charge from your GP or local pharmacist. If you are not able to have the flu jab before Christmas, arrange for a date as soon as you can. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is recommended to be given at least two weeks apart from your flu jab. Don’t wait to have the coronavirus vaccine first, make having the flu vaccine your first priority. Some Muslim Carers have additional questions about the vaccine, because of their faith. The Muslim Council of Britain has produced this factsheet to answer some frequently asked questions. Below this checklist you will see some helpful advice from other Carers about getting the flu jab.
  • Write a ‘What IF’ plan. Our example of a What If plan outlines the types of information you would like someone to know if they had to step into your shoes if something were to happen to you. Here is a template (add link)  for you to produce your own copy. Just remember to tell a family member or friend about it should you fall ill for example.
  • Register with CERS. Birmingham Carers Hub runs the Carers Emergency Response Service known as ‘CERS’. CERS is a FREE emergency back-up service if you provide care to someone living in Birmingham. If you happen to slip on ice, maybe you are gridlocked on a foggy motorway and can’t get home, or there is some other emergency and you cannot provide care, back up support is provided ‘at home’ for up to two days. You can also benefit from a planned sitting service, so you can get to important appointments, such as at the doctors or hospital. To register for CERS, ensure that you are registered as a Carer with Birmingham Carers Hub, then call the CERS team (operated by our partner Midland Mencap) on 0121 442 2960.
  • Stock up. Make sure you’re stocked up with enough food supplies and medication for a few days, in case you can’t go out due to bad weather or over the Christmas holiday period when support is limited.
  • Stay warm and well by reading this advice from the NHS.
  • Apply for the Warm Home Discount. This is a government-funded payment towards the extra costs of home energy through the winter. You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Many energy providers are part of the scheme, and it is aimed at reducing fuel poverty in low-income households. Applications can be made up until March 2021, more information is available here.
  • Apply for the Connected for Warmth scheme. This is a programme, supported by Birmingham City Council, to install central heating for free into fuel poor and vulnerable homes. Its aims are to reduce bills, increase comfort in non-gas households, and improve health outcomes for residents. Find out more here.
  • Check to see if you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment. If you were born on or before 5 October 1954 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. The deadline for claiming payments for winter 2020 to 2021 is 31 March 2021.

  • Check to see whether you are eligible for a Cold Weather Payment. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

  • Put safety measures in place. RoSPA has some great winter safety advice.

What do Carers say about the flu jab

Used to go to the G.P. but the waiting time was quite long. I live near a pharmacy and now go there. It’s very convenient and efficient.

I’ve never had a reaction to the jab, I do have it in my right arm just in case, as I’m a leftie.

GP invites me, I turn up, no queue, jab, and go. Top tip is I don’t have it in my arm, which always goes sore, but in my backside. Never feel it there afterwards.

If the G.P. could do caree and unpaid carer together that would be easier, both need the flu jab, if the unpaid carer got flu would not be able to care needing substitute care, hundreds of pounds.

I’ve been having the flu jab for over 10 years and yes it certainly has made a positive difference to me. I have the flu jab in September or early October and it usually stops me from getting the flu. If I do get flu symptoms then they are less severe and the symptoms go away more quickly too.

One important piece of advice is IF YOU DO HAVE THE FLU JAB HAVE IT EARLY IN THE DAY. Apparently the flu jab is much more effective early on in the morning than later on in the day. It is to do with your immune system.