Flu: vaccine, causes, treatment, and more

What is flu?

BSL Support

The UK is facing an uncertain and unprecedented winter which is likely to increase the spread of flu and COVID. The colder weather alongside COVID restriction means more people are going to be in enclosed spaces increasing the susceptibility of catching flu.

If you're at increased risk from coronavirus, you are also more at risk of problems from flu. Research shows that if you get both viruses at the same time, you are more likely to be seriously ill.

Dr Muhammad Naqvi, a local GP and chair of Newham Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“The flu is not the same as getting a cold. It can seriously affect your health and the risks of developing complications are greater for people within the ‘at-risk’ groups. The risks are also higher if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time.” 

Flu symptoms

Some of the main symptoms of flu include the below. You don’t have to have all these symptoms to have the flu:

  • a high temperature (fever)
  • tiredness and weakness
  • a headache
  • an aching body
  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetitie
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick and being sick

Getting the flu vaccine

Flu vaccines are safe and effective. They are offered for free every year to some people. You can find out if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine here.

If you are not eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can still go to your GP or pharmacy and ask for the flu vaccine. It will cost you a small fee.

When to get the flu vaccine

The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. The flu vaccine will also be offered into the winter months.

Where to go for more information

Find out more about the flu vaccine.

Find a local pharmacy offering the flu vaccine.

Register with a GP