Flu

Protect Yourself This Winter

Flu - The Facts
Between October and April every year the flu (or influenza) season hits. Flu is a common viral infection that affects the lungs and upper respiratory airways, and can sometimes result in debilitating symptoms.

Flu is extremely contagious as it can be easily spread to those around you through coughing, sneezing or by touching an affected surface. The symptoms take around two days to appear after you've been infected, and people are usually infectious a day or so before the symptoms start and for around five days after they've gone - so it's almost impossible to avoid!
Did you know?
  • It also results in 1 million GP consultations a year and 30,000 hospital admissions*
  • That adds up to a significant burden on the NHS, and a real worry for all of us, especially vulnerable people
The single most effective way to prevent flu and the spread of germs is to get vaccinated every year. A flu vaccination service is now offered at selected LloydsPharmacy stores**.

Are you Eligible for a Free Flu Jab

What are the symptoms?
A lot of people think they've got flu when actually they have a heavy cold. Colds and flu are both caused by viruses, but with flu your lungs are affected to a greater extent. A cold tends to cause more nasal congestion and is over in a few days, whereas with flu, it can take you weeks to recover.

Typical flu symptoms:
  • High temperature
  • Sweating, feeling feverish/shivery
  • Headache
  • Aching limbs and tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
Typical cold symptoms:
  • Runny nose and congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Chesty cough
  • Sore throat with a dry cough

Flu symptoms are more severe than those associated with other respiratory infections. Flu has the potential to cause Pneumoccocal-Vaccination and organ failure and it can also make any existing conditions you have worse.
Am I at risk?
Everyone is at risk of catching flu, so if you want to protect yourself and those around you this winter, you can arrange to get vaccinated at LloydsPharmacy.

You are particularly at risk if:

  • you're over 65
  • you are pregnant
  • you have asthma or lung disease
  • you have chronic heart disease
  • you're diabetic
  • you have a chronic kidney condition
  • you have a chronic liver condition
  • you've had a stroke
  • you have an illness or are taking medicines that lower your natural defences

If any of these apply to you, you may be eligible for a free flu vaccination at your GP surgery. But if you fall outside of this group or you don't have the time to visit your GP, we can provide the flu vaccination for you at selected LloydsPharmacy stores**.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can flu be fatal?
Yes, particularly if you have weakened immunity or live with a long term chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. If you are an otherwise healthy adult it is unlikely to fatal, but you will certainly feel very ill and more seriously, can pass the infection onto the more vulnerable people you come into contact with.
Is it possible to have more than one strain of cold and/or flu at the same time?
Yes it is, but how your body copes may be different depending on what your immune system has to do to fight it off. So whilst you might cope well with 2 different cold viruses at the same time, it’s not uncommon when suffering from a cold or flu to get a secondary bacterial infection on the chest, and this is when it can be very serious whilst your immune system is busy fighting the virus the bacterial chest infection can take its toll and can even be fatal.
How dangerous is flu in pregnancy?
During pregnancy you will have a slightly weakened immune system that make it more likely for you to be infected with flu. With Swine flu now in circulation for several years there is also a much higher risk of miscarriage or premature labour, so it’s very important for the health of your baby that you have a flu vaccine.
How long and when is the flu season?
The flu season lasts through the winter months, typically between October to February, but this can vary from one year to the next. For a flu vaccine to be effective it should be taken as early as possible so that you immune system is ready when flu strikes.
Where can I get the flu jab?
The flu jab is available at LloydsPharmacy between September and February.

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* Pitman et al 2006
** There may be a charge for this service unless you are eligible for a free NHS flu jab
† World Health Organisation 2005