Flu is a deadly viral infection that’s very infectious and is easily spread to other people, said the NHS. It’s spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, and can live on various surfaces for an entire day. Seasonal flu is now well underway after the amount of people hospitalised with flu doubled over the past week. During the first week of the year, more than four hospital consultations out of every 100,000 were related to the flu virus, according to latest Public Health England (PHE) figures. Less than two consultations in every 100,000 were caused by flu in the previous week.
It’s crucial that everyone gets the flu jab to lower your risk of infection, said PHE.
The most common strain of flu circulating is matched to this year’s flu jab, it added.
“In the last week, the flu indicators we track have reached low levels, meaning flu is now circulating in the community in England,” said PHE Head of Flu, Richard Peabody.
“We are currently seeing mainly A(H1N1)pdm09 circulating which is well matched to the strains in this year’s flu vaccines.
“The best form of protection against flu is to get the vaccine if you are eligible and to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene.
“It isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine so make sure you take up the offer if you’re eligible, to protect yourself and vulnerable people around you.”
You could also lower your chances of becoming infected with flu by regularly washing your hands with warm water and soap, said the NHS.
It’s also crucial to catch cough and sneeze germs in a tissue, and to throw them away as soon as possible.
If you come down with flu, you could speak to a pharmacist for advice on the best treatments available over-the-counter.
Be careful not to take flu remedies if you’ve already taken paracetamol or ibuprofen, as you may take more than the recommended dose.
You should also speak to a pharmacist before giving medication to young children, the NHS warned.
Common flu symptoms can develop very quickly and without warning.
A sudden fever – of higher than 38 degrees Celsius – body aches, feeling very tired, and a loss of appetite could also be caused by the flu.
Other flu symptoms include a headache, difficulty sleeping, nausea, a sore throat, and a dry cough.
Flu symptoms are similar to the common cold, but tend to be more severe and last longer. It’s also more likely to include diarrhoea or vomiting.
You should call NHS 111 if you think you have flu, and have an underlying medical condition, or a weakened immune system.
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