Flu – Why risk it?
The winter weather brings an increase in cases of flu – short for influenza – which is a highly infectious viral illness that is spread by coughing and sneezing.
For many people flu is a nasty experience – like a very bad cold but worse – with the symptoms of headache, fever, sore throat aching joints and muscles making you retreat to your bed. For some, flu can be even worse, causing more serious illnesses or even result in death.
At risk groups
- Those aged 50 and over
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in a long-stay residential care
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
- frontline health or social care workers
- Those with long term health conditions such as:
- respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis
- heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
- being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
- chronic kidney disease
- liver disease, such as hepatitis
- neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
- a learning disability
- problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
How can I find out more?
You can find out more about flu on the NHS flu and the flu vaccine pages or if you are worried about flu call 111.