What is flu? Isn’t it just a heavy cold?
Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu. It’s a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly.
Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold.
The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints
and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.
Flu vaccine overview
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.
Flu can be unpleasant, but if you’re otherwise healthy, it’ll usually clear up on its own within a week.
But flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
- anyone aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
- children and adults with weakened immune systems
Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.
Flu vaccination: easy read flu resources
You can download leaflets and a poster aimed at providing information on influenza (flu) and vaccination below.