What is flu?
Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why it is sometimes called seasonal flu. It is a very infectious disease that can come on very quickly. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, pains in your joints and muscles and extreme tiredness. Healthy people usually recover within 2 – 7 days, but some people can develop serious complications and need to be admitted to hospital quickly.
Colds are much less serious and usually start slowly with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold.
How do we prevent the spread of flu?
Flu is unpredictable and there can be different strains of the virus. However, over the last ten years the flu vaccine has generally been very good at targeting the circulating strains. This is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children who are most at risk of flu and its complications.
Am I at increased risk from the effects of flu?
Flu can affect anyone but if you have a long-term health condition flu can make it worse, even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. Click here for our Easy Ready Leaflet all about flu and how to stop you getting it.
We recommend that you have a free flu jab or a flu nasal spray (if aged 2 to 17) if you are:
- 65 years and over
- immunosuppressed due to disease or treatment (weakened immune system). This include people who have a damaged or no spleen, those people with HIV, people having chemotherapy and those on high dose steroid medication
- chronic respiratory disease such as COPD, chronic bronchitis, or cystic fibrosis. Also people with severe asthma who need to continuously and repeatedly use inhalers, take steroids or with multiple hospital admissions
- chronic heart disease including heart failure, congenital heart disease, and heart disease caused by high blood pressure
- chronic kidney disease, such as kidney failure and people who have had a kidney transplant
- chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis
- chronic neurological disease, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis
- very overweight with a BMI over 40
- living in long-stay residential homes (not including prison, young offender institutions or university halls of residence)
- receiving carers allowance or you are the main carer for an elderly or disable person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- frontline health and social care workers
For more information please see the Department of Health Website.
Every autumn, around September, we start our flu clinics. We aim to vaccinate as many of those at risk as indicated above.
We will contact you when we are ready to book appointments.
Nasal Flu for Children
Advice for patients or parents with faith concerns:
The nasal spray flu vaccine contains a highly processed form of gelatine (porcine, derived from pigs), which is used globally in many essential medicines. Some faith groups accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products – the decision is, of course, up to you.
For further information about porcine gelatine and this nasal flu vaccine, see www.gov.uk/government/news/vaccines-and-gelatine-phe-response