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Each year the NHS runs a seasonal flu vaccination campaign aiming to vaccinate all patients who are at risk of developing more serious complications from the virus. These include people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women and those with certain health conditions.


Most practices offer flu clinics were patients who are deemed vulnerable from flu can receive a free flu jab. You can contact your practice for more information or Find out if you're eligible for the free NHS flu vaccine

Most community pharmacies in England can offer a free NHS flu vaccination to eligible people aged 18 and over, these include the over 65s, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions. Community pharmacies may also offer a winter flu vaccination as a private service for those people who would not qualify for a free NHS vaccination.

If you wish to receive your flu vaccination from your local community pharmacy please contact 
them for more information.

Click here to find a pharmacy

Check if you have flu
You can often treat the flu without seeing your GP and should begin to feel better in about a week. Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:

  • a sudden fever - a temperature of 38C or above
  • aching body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • dry, chesty cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • nausea and being sick

The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.

Telling the difference between cold and flu

​Appears quickly within a few hoursAppears gradually​
​Affects more than just your nose and throat​Affects mainly your nose and throat
​Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal​Makes you feel unwell, but you're OK to carry on as normal

How to treat flu yourself

To help you get better more quickly:

  • rest and sleep
  • keep warm
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your tempature and treat aches and pains
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)

A pharmacist can help with flu

A pharmacist can give treatment advice and recommend flu remedies.

Be careful not to use flu remedies if you're taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it's easy to take more than the recommended dose.

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  • you're worried about your baby's or child's symptoms
  • you're 65 or over
  • you're pregnant
  • you have a long-term medical condition - for example, diabetes or a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease
  • you have a weekended immune system - for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV
  • your symptoms don't improve after 7 days


GPs don't recommend antibiotics for flu because they won't relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.

How to avoid spreading the flu

Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You're more likely to give it to others in the first 5 days.

Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

To reduce the risk of spreading flu:

  • wash you hands often with warm water and soap
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible

How to prevent flu

The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others.

It's more effective to get the vaccine before the start of the flu season (Dec to Mar)

Find out if you're eligible for the free NHS flu vaccine

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Want to know more?

You can read our online Flu Comic.pdf which was created with local charity SPARC

You can also access a Flu Easy Read.pdf booklet,