- What is flu?
- What are the symptoms of flu?
- Who is at greatest risk from flu?
- Why should I be vaccinated?
- Where can I get vaccinated?
- When can I get vaccinated?
- How often do I need to be vaccinated?
- Am I eligible for a free vaccination?
- Will a flu vaccination give me flu?
- How does a flu vaccination work?
- How are flu vaccines produced?
What are the symptoms of flu?
Someone who has flu may experience some or all of the following symptoms1,2:
- A runny or blocked nose
- A sore throat
- A dry, chesty cough
- A sudden fever (a temperature of 38ºC or above )
- Aching muscles and/or limb and joint pain
- Tiredness, fatigue and feeling weak
- Diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting
The range of symptoms experienced (and their severity) differs from person to person (depending on their age and other health conditions), and may also vary from one flu season to the next, depending on the type of flu that is spreading1.
How to treat flu symptoms
Most people (who are otherwise fit and healthy) won’t need to see a doctor if they catch flu. The best remedy is to stay at home and rest, keep warm and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration2.
There are over-the-counter medications available, which will help to lower your temperature and ease aches and pains. However, if you are taking any other medication, or you have a condition such as asthma, diabetes, heart, liver or kidney disease, you should always ask your pharmacist if it is safe for you to take additional medication.
Protecting yourself from flu
Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu3. You can get your free flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy. Most pharmacies in the UK now offer both the NHS free flu jab as well as a private jab. This might be a more convenient option for you.
*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Symptoms & Complications. June 2018. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/
complications.htm (accessed July 2018)
- NHS Choices. Flu. December 2017. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu/Pages/Symptoms.aspx (accessed July 2018)
- World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet, January 2018. Available online: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal) (accessed July 2018)