Influenza, also known as the 'flu', occurs every year, usually in the winter.
It’s a highly infectious viral illness with symptoms that develop quickly and last several days. These can include a fever, chills, headache, joint and muscle pains, and extreme tiredness.
One way to protect against flu is through a flu vaccine. Vaccines contains small amount of the viruses that have been weakened.
They stimulate your body’s immune system to make disease-fighting antibodies without actually infecting you. These antibodies mean that when you do come into contact with the virus itself, your body will be able to fight it offer.
Flu and existing conditions
Young people who have certain conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease have a higher risk of catching flu and of becoming seriously unwell.
Because of this, they are offered the flu vaccination every autumn at their GP surgery.
The flu vaccine
The flu virus is continually changing and, in response to this, the flu vaccine is changed each year too. This is why you need to get vaccinated every year.
You may remember being given the flu vaccination in primary school as a nasal spray. In future, all children between the ages of two and 16 may well be offered the flu vaccination spray to protect them.
Cold vs Flu – which is it?
- Flu can last longer than a cold
- People feel much more unwell with flu than with a cold – often feeling unable to get out of bed
- Flu is caused by different types of influenza viruses and colds are caused by many different viruses
How to get help
If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.
Find help in your local area
Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.