What are the symptoms of flu?
Flu symptoms hit you suddenly and sometimes severely. They
usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles,
and you can often get a cough and sore throat at the same
time. Flu is caused by viruses and not bacteria, so
antibiotics won’t treat it.
People sometimes think a bad cold is flu,
but having flu can be much worse than a cold and you may
need to stay in bed for a few days if you have flu.
Am I at greater risk from the effects of seasonal
Even if you feel healthy, you should
consider having the free seasonal flu vaccine if you have:
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or breathing difficulties,
including bronchitis or emphysema
- a kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or
treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer
- a liver disease
- had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack
- a neurological condition, for example
multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
- a problem with your spleen, for example
sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
You should also think about getting the flu
vaccine if you are:
- aged 65 years or over
- living in a residential or nursing home
- the main carer of an older or disabled person
- a frontline health or social care worker, or
Don’t wait until there is a flu outbreak this
winter: contact your GP or practice nurse now to get
your seasonal flu jab.
Actions to protect yourself
- Get vaccinated against flu.
The vaccine is being offered to people who are most likely to
become seriously ill if they catch flu.
- Hand hygiene is recognised as
the single most important activity for minimising the risk of
Other things you
should do include:
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a
tissue when possible
- Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully
- Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands
frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus
from your hands to face or to other people
- Cleaning hard surfaces (for example, door handles)
frequently using a normal cleaning product
- Making sure your children follow this advice.
Where to get advice about flu
For information about flu visit the NHS
When to call 999
Advice from the Department of Health is that
you SHOULD NOT go to hospital if you
just have flu-like symptoms. However, you should always
999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is