Be Flu Safe

Be flu safe, get the free flu jab   

There’s a common misconception that flu is essentially the same as having a cold, however flu can be much more serious and not only lead to people having to go to hospital but also increase the risk of developing illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

So who falls under the ‘at risk’ category? People aged over 65, pregnant women, young children and those with long-term health conditions such as severe asthma or diabetes.

As well as those in the ‘at risk’ groups, carers are also encouraged to get a flu jab, which will not only protect them but also those around them that they care for.

You’ll find more information on the tabs below on what causes flu, what makes it different from getting a cold and how children can now get the vaccine as a quick and painless nasal spray.

What causes flu?

Having the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu, but what is it that makes us more likely to catch it in the first place? For a start, when you see someone coughing or sneezing, you might want to stand clear.

The flu virus is actually caused by tiny droplets that come from a person’s nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze. The flu virus is spread when you are exposed to these droplets in the air, although it could just as easily be passed by shaking hands with someone or touching everyday objects that the droplets might have landed on.

It’s why getting the flu jab is so important, or where the age-old wisdom of washing your hands regularly comes into play, as this helps to stop you catching flu and limits it spreading.


Flu facts

There are many myths surrounding the flu jab. These range from having the flu jab can actually give you the flu and that you only need to have the jab once and you are protected for the rest of your life. Both of these myths are wrong, and we’ve separated fact from fiction below and outlined some truthful flu facts you need to know.



  •          You can’t get flu by having the jab
  •          The flu jab is perfectly safe
  •          You need to have the flu jab every year to protect yourself
  •          Flu is a much more serious illness than a cold
  •          Catching flu is more common during the winter months
  •          This year, children can have the vaccine as a nasal spray
  •          The flu jab takes two weeks to be fully effective
  •          The flu jab is free for anyone in the ‘at risk’ groups including elderly people, pregnant women and young children
  •          You can arrange to have the flu jab by booking an appointment with your GP or seeing your local pharmacist 



  •          It's a risk to get your flu jab if you're pregnant 
  •          Healthy children don't need to have a flu vaccine 
  •          People get ill from the vaccine 
  •          'I have egg allergies and cannot get the flu jab'




Difference between the flu and a cold

Mention the differences between the flu and a cold, and many people may find it hard to distinguish between the two. You certainly wouldn’t be the only one if you thought the same, but it’s important to realise that flu is actually a more serious illness.

Whereas with a cold, you might get a runny nose and a sore throat, the symptoms associated with flu can be more severe and last for a longer period of time. Because it’s an infectious viral illness, you are more likely to suffer a fever, tiredness, a headache and aches and pains.

In most cases, the symptoms are mild, but in others that can be very serious, with NHS figures showing that about 600 people die a year from a complication of seasonal flu in the UK.