What is it?

Flu or influenza - is a highly contagious virus that can infect the respiratory tract (the airway).

Each year the World Health Organisation identifies the virus strains considered most likely to be circulating in the forthcoming season. The vaccine is then formulated to contain these virus strains. In recent years the strains in the vaccine have been a very good match with circulating strains and offered a high degree of protection against infection. The strains vary every year.

How does it spread? 

Flu is most commonly spread at home from an infected person’s saliva, or mucus from a cough or sneeze. A person can breathe in droplets from saliva and mucus. Infected people can leave behind contaminated nasal fluids on surfaces, tissues and fabrics, either directly or by passing them on via their hands. Other people can become infected by touching contaminated surfaces and then putting their hands to their eyes, nose or mouth.

Who is at risk?

Everyone is at risk but those at higher risk are:

  • People who are 50 years old or older.
  • People with chronic (ongoing) or long-term health problems.
  • Women who are pregnant during flu season.
  • Children under 5 years old.

What are the symptoms?

  • Sudden fever, aching limbs and fatigue, sore throat, cough and headache.
  • Possibly a runny nose, eye pain and sensitivity to light.
  • Those with reduced immunity are more at risk. This can lead to bronchitis or bacterial pneumonia, which may require hospital treatment and, on occasion, can be life-threatening.

Help stop the spread

  • Have a flu vaccination each year.
  • Regularly disinfect the surfaces that people come into contact with.
  • People infected should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth when flu is around, and wash their hands beforehand if they have to do so.
  • An infected person should not share towels, face cloths etc. with others. They should particularly avoid contact with those who may be more vulnerable to infection, such as the elderly and pregnant women.
  • An infected person should not go to work and should stay at home to prevent the spread of the infection.
  • An infected person should practice good cough and sneeze hygiene, covering their mouth and washing their hands after.

If you would like to participate in the vaccination programme for this season, please call us on 0844 800 4414 or e-mail admin@chs.uk.com

Flu tends to be seasonal, with infections peaking between October and April. February is a particularly sensitive month.