Seasonal influenza, or flu, is an unpredictable, recurring pressure faced by the NHS each year. Flu is highly contagious, particularly during the first five days of infection, and it’s important that we all take the necessary steps required to limit the spread of the flu virus.
Keeping safe during flu season
There are four main ways in which you can ensure that you keep yourself and others as safe as possible from the spread of flu:
Stay at home if you have flu symptoms
Get your flu vaccination if advised
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
Cough and sneeze into a tissue and dispose of this immediately
Where can I get my flu and covid vaccinations?
Please see below for information on who is eligible for flu and covid vaccinations and where you can get vaccinated:
What’s the difference between flu and a cold?
It can be difficult to tell whether you have flu or a cold. The main differences between the two are:
Flu will come on quickly whereas cold symptoms appear gradually
Colds tend to mainly affect the nose and throat whereas flu has additional symptoms
Flu will make you feel too unwell to carry out your normal activities
Flu can come with a number of symptoms, including:
Sudden high temperature
Feeling tired or exhausted
Loss of appetite
Diarrhoea or stomach pain
In addition to being aware of flu symptoms, it’s important to remember that there’s still a threat of covid this winter too. As with flu, you should try to stay at home if you are experiencing covid symptoms. These are the same as flu symptoms but could also include:
A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
Shortness of breath
To help yourself to recover if you have flu or covid symptoms, you should:
Rest and sleep
Take paracetamol/ibuprofen to help with aches and a high temperature
Drink plenty of water
Through following these necessary steps, you can help to limit the spread of flu and stay safe this winter.