A father who almost died a week before his son’s first birthday is urging people to get immunised against flu this winter.
Last winter, Adam Blackman did not bother getting the jab and caught influenza.
The virus triggered a life-threatening asthma attack. He spent more than a month in hospital recovering.
He says he “learned the hard way” about how dangerous flu is and why people should have the vaccine.
The viruses that cause flu can mutate and change every year, so you need to get immunised annually to be protected.
Mr Blackman, 47, from East Sussex, says he grossly underestimated how risky flu can be.
While many people who catch it will recover within a week or so, flu can be deadly for others, especially those in at-risk groups.
Asthma UK says colds and flu are the most common causes of asthma flare-ups.
In Mr Blackman’s case, it resulted in pneumonia and a collapsed lung and meant he had to be put into a coma for a week in hospital.
“I have asthma and my body just couldn’t cope,” he says.
“I actually thought I was going to die before the ambulance got here.
“It was nearly catastrophic for me but my friends and family were also at risk.
“My brother-in-law who has asthma got ill shortly afterwards and ended up in hospital too.
“I learned the hard way that the flu can be life-threatening.
“I was hooked up to a life-support machine and put in isolation so that the flu wouldn’t spread.
“Given how contagious flu can be, I would urge everyone to get the flu vaccine so they don’t have to go through the hell I’ve been through.
“I’m not risking it again and have already got the flu vaccine.
“I am urging everyone with asthma to get it as soon as possible.
“It could save your life.”
You can get the vaccine for free on the NHS if you are:
- 65 or older
- someone with certain medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease or diabetes
- living in a long-stay care facility or home
- the main carer for an elderly or disabled person
- a child aged two to 10
Many pharmacies and supermarkets also have a flu vaccine service for customers.