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 65 years or over
- adults aged 18 to 64 with a long term health condition
- children aged 2 to 3 at their GP practice
- school children in years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- pregnant women
- health and social care workers
- morbidly obese people
- Those aged six months to 65 years who have:
- A heart problem
- A chest complaint or breathing difficulties including bronchitis and emphysema
- A kidney disease
- Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
- A liver disease
- Had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- A neurological condition e.g. multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
- A problem with, or removal of, their spleen e.g. sickle cell disease
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.
Download this leaflet from Public Health England – The Flu Vaccination Winter 2019/20 – It explains how you can help protect yourself and your children against flu this coming winter, and why it’s very important that people who are at increased risk from flu have their free flu vaccination every year.