Preventing the spread of flu

National guidance to inform about flu and about flu vaccination in the 2021/2022 flu season can be viewed at the following websites:

Flu - NHS (

National flu immunisation programme plan - GOV.UK (

Preventing the spread of flu is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic, due to the impact on the health of those most vulnerable to both diseases, and the impact on hospital admissions.

What is flu?

Flu is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe. The most common symptoms include: high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, chills, loss of appetite and feeling tired. Read more on seasonal flu.

Anyone can get flu but for some flu can lead to serious complications.

If you’re otherwise fit and healthy, there’s usually no need to see a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms. The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

 How to stop flu spreading

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 your hands often with warm water and soap
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • get the flu vaccine

See how to wash your hands correctly

How to get the flu vaccine

The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications. If you are  invited to get a flu vaccine by your GP you should make it a priority to attend, to protect yourself, others and the NHS.

The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. But you can get the vaccine later.

You can also help stop the spread of flu by avoiding unnecessary contact with other people while you are infectious. You should stay off work or school until you are feeling better. Read more on flu prevention

Check if you have flu

Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:

  • a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
  • an aching body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick 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

Cold and flu symptoms are similar, but flu tends to be more severe. Anyone can get flu but for some flu can lead to serious complications.

Differences between cold and flu
Flu Cold
Appears quickly within a few hours Appears 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 (for example, go to work)

 Could it be coronavirus?

If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it could be coronavirus (Covid-19).

Get advice about coronavirus symptoms and what to do


Further information

The following video explores why it is important for all our communities to consider the flu jab. It was filmed with help from the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group and features Shiren and Ade discussing topics such as whether the jab is safe, effective, and whether it is halal.

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