Paramedic Braden on why it is important to get the flu jab

Braden, a paramedic who works out of Homerton Ambulance Station is calling on our staff and volunteers and the public to get their flu vaccination this year. He knows first-hand the devastation that can be caused by the flu.

This is his story.

In May 2017 I developed some flu-like symptoms and needed to take some time off work. I hadn’t got my flu vaccine that year, for no good reason at all.

Braden stood in front of an ambulance
Braden

I didn’t get it done simply out of laziness.

I didn’t think I could get the flu: I thought I’m young: I just didn’t think I would get it.

I ended up developing a secondary bacterial pneumonia (I lost half of my air capacity in my left lung) and sepsis. I had chest pain that didn’t go away after seven hours.

I went to hospital and ended up in a resus bed.

After two days of testing I was diagnosed with myopericarditis* secondary to the infection with a mild pericardial effusion**. I spent two weeks in the critical care unit and then was discharged home for a month.

It then took three months of ‘light duties’ at work before I could respond to patients again.

I am very lucky to have recovered like I have with no permanent effects.

The flu, while mild for most people, can be debilitating and having experienced some of the worst effects of the influenza virus, I would not want this to happen to any of my friends or family.

It takes only a couple of minutes to be vaccinated. By getting the jab we can all work together to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community.

More information:

*Myopericarditis is inflammation of both the heart muscle and pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart).

**Mild pericardial effusion is small amount of fluid between the heart and the sac that surrounds it.

Both cases are caused mostly by infection.