Influenza, or ‘the flu’, is a highly infectious viral illness with symptoms that develop quickly and last several days.
These can include:
- a fever (body temperature of over 38 degrees celcius) or chills
- a headache
- joint and muscle pains
- extreme tiredness
- a dry cough
- a sore throat
- having trouble sleeping
- lack of appetite
- feeling or being sick
Flu can usually be treated at home, speak to a pharmacist for treatment advice and information on flu remedies.
However it can make some people seriously ill, such as pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions including diabetes and heart disease. Those most at risk from the flu virus are also most vulnerable to COVID-19, and are eligible for free coronavirus and influenza vaccines on the NHS.
The virus is also highly contagious and spreads rapidly through coughs, sneezes and ingestion after touching a contaminated surface. It’ll survive on surfaces for many hours, so good hand hygiene and frequent hand washing is very important.
This is why vaccinating yourself and your children against the flu, if you’re eligible for a vaccine, is very important.
As well as providing protection for your child from this serious, potentially life-threatening illness, the vaccine helps to protect friends and family members, including younger siblings and elderly people.
The vaccine may be offered to your child in school through the autumn and winter months, you can read more about the children’s flu vaccine here.