Flu is a common, infectious, viral illness. You generally start to feel ill within a few days of being infected. Most people will begin to recover within a week, but it can be very unpleasant, and you may feel so unwell that you have to stay in bed and rest until you feel better.What’s the difference between cold and flu?Some people think of flu as just a bad cold, but it is different3. It can be much more serious and in some cases may even lead to death. It is estimated that around 10,000 people in the UK may die from flu annually.
How long is flu contagious?
If you contract the flu virus, you can infect other people before you have any symptoms or start to feel ill. This is important as it means you may infect other people before you even know you have the flu. You may even not show any symptoms at all – but still be contagious.You can also pass on the virus up to 5 and 7 days after you become unwell. Children may stay contagious for longer than 7 days.
How is flu spread?
Flu is spread from person to person. Most experts believe it is spread through droplets, which are expelled when a person coughs, sneezes or even talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people up to 6 feet away and be inhaled into the lungs. Or, less often, droplets may land on surfaces such as door handles, dishes, bed linen etc. and then be transferred to a person who touches these, then touches their own nose or mouth.
Preventing the spread of flu
Practice good hygiene measures to help stop yourself catching flu or spreading it to others.Always wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, as well as:•regularly cleaning surfaces such as your computer keyboard, telephone and door handles to get rid of germs•using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze•putting used tissues in a bin as soon as possible•avoiding unnecessary contact with other people while you’re infectious•You should stay off work or school until you’re feeling better.
How can I avoid catching flu?
Vaccination remains the most effective to help protect people from flu6. Many people are eligible for a free vaccination on the NHS (such as those at high risk with other health conditions, children in certain age groups, pregnant women, adults aged 65 and over or carers).You can get your free NHS flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy, while most pharmacies in the UK also offer private jabs.*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.
HELP PROTECT YOURSELF.
The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.Please do not visit the surgery if your showing any signs of the Coronavirus.•In the last 14 days you've been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus – see coronavirus advice for travellers and a list of high risk countries on nhs.uk•You've been in close contact with someone with coronavirusDo not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.
•In the last 14 days you've been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus – see coronavirus advice for travellers and a list of high risk countries on nhs.uk•You've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus