Flu can lead to serious illness
Influenza, or flu, is an acute viral infection that affects millions of people of all ages around the world and is caused by different viruses. It is an important public health problem and can result in potentially serious medical complications, such as pneumonia, which can lead to hospitalisation, and can even result in death.
You can catch flu all year round, but it is especially common in autumn and winter, which is why it is also known as ‘seasonal flu’. Flu is mainly spread by coughs and sneezes, and can sweep through schools, the workplace, nursing homes and even whole communities.
Cold or Flu?
Flu is not the same as the common cold. It is caused by a different group of viruses. Symptoms of flu tend to be much more severe and may last for longer. Flu has a number of symptoms, some more serious than others. It is usually accompanied by a high temperature, tiredness, sore throat and general aches and pains. You can lose your appetite, feel nauseous and have a cough.
Adults (but more commonly children) may also experience diarrhoea and vomiting. Flu symptoms can make people feel so exhausted and unwell that they have to stay in bed and rest until they feel better.
How can you get it?
Flu spreads easily. Infected droplets, spread by coughing, sneezing, or talking, can be breathed in by other people. People can also get flu by touching surfaces contaminated with the flu virus and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Family members are at risk
Flu is highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person. So family members (particularly the elderly and young children) and work colleagues are at risk of getting infected if they come into contact with someone who has flu. The best solution to avoid infecting others is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you are better.
How can you stop it?
Vaccinations help prevent flu. It is difficult to treat flu successfully. You can stop flu spreading by staying at home, using tissues to cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough and washing your hands regularly. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection and protect against the consequences of flu.
As the flu virus changes every year, so does the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine helps provide protection against infection of the viruses. The vaccine you received last year might not contain the strains which circulate this year. So, for optimal protection against flu, annual vaccination is recommended.
Corporate flu vaccination schemes
You can purchase Flu Vaccine vouchers and distribute to your staff, who can come to the pharmacy for their vaccine at a convenient time. Alternatively, if you would like to vaccinate your whole office we can come to you by arrangement.
Frequently asked questions:
“Isn’t flu just like a bad cold?”
NO. Flu is very different to a bad cold. It is caused by a different group of viruses. Symptoms of flu tend to be much more severe and last for longer. They can include high temperature, tiredness, sore throat and general aches and pains.
“Can I get the flu from the vaccine?”
NO. Despite some popular beliefs, a flu vaccine cannot give you flu, as it doesn’t contain the active virus. You may experience a low-grade fever and tiredness lasting a few days, however this is common after many vaccines.
“I had a flu jab last year, so I must already be covered?”
NO. Firstly, this year’s flu strain might be a different strain to last year’s, so you will need a different vaccine targeted against the new circulating strains. Secondly, your body’s immune response declines over time. Therefore, the Department of Health recommends flu vaccination every year.
“I’ve had flu before. Does that mean I’m immune?”
NO. The circulating flu strains change each year so you do not develop immunity. This is why you should have a flu vaccine each year.