Flu is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. It spreads rapidly through small droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. For most people flu is unpleasant and not serious and you will usually recover within a week.
Studies have shown that flu vaccines provide effective protection against flu, although protection may not be complete and may vary between people. Protection from the vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains change over time. Therefore new vaccines are made each year and people at risk of flu are encouraged to be vaccinated every year.
The flu vaccination is offered to people in at-risk groups. These people are at a greater risk of developing serious complications and even dying if they catch flu.
It is recommended that you have a flu jab if you:
- are 65years old or over
- at any stage of pregnancy
- have a serious medical condition such as chronic respiratory disease, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease, stroke or TIA, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.
- are living in a long stay residential care home or other long stay facility
- are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- are morbidly obese (BMI over 40)
- are a frontline health or social care worker