What is Flu?
Flu (or influenza, to use the full name) is a highly infectious illness which spreads very rapidly via coughs and sneezes of people who are already carrying the virus. Flu immunisation (flu jab) gives you good protection and lasts for one year. The vaccine is normally available in the autumn and is made from the strain of flu that is expected in the coming winter. In order to remain protected, you need to ensure that you have an annual flu jab.
A flu jab’s main purpose is to protect those who are most at risk of developing complications that can result from flu. The symptoms hit you suddenly and severely.They usually include fever, chills, sore throat headaches, aching muscles, and you can often get a cough at the same time. Colds are less severe, and usually start gradually when you get a sore throat and stuffy or a runny nose. Catching Flu is a much more serious illness and is a nasty experience for most of us and it can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia and may require hospital treatment. Every winter, a large number of elderly people die from influenza.
When should I get the Flu Jab?
The best time to have a flu jab is in the autumn. Don’t wait until the winter when there’s a flu epidemic. The virus circulates every winter, usually over a period of a few weeks and, as a result, a lot of people get ill around the same time. In a really bad year, this can amount to an epidemic.