Flu is a viral illness that is spread by the coughs and sneezes of people who are already infected. The symptoms of flu include:
Flu often lasts for a week or more and can make you feel weak for several weeks longer.
For most people, flu is just a nasty experience but for some it can lead to more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia that may need hospital treatment.
The flu vaccine is recommended if you are:
OR if you have
Healthy people under 65 years do not need to be vaccinated as flu is not a serious risk for them.
The flu vaccine is very effective. Most people who have been vaccinated will not get flu but if you do catch flu, it is most likely to be milder than if you had not been vaccinated.
The flu vaccine cannot cause flu. It is a very safe vaccine but can occasionally have mild side effects such as a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days after vaccination.