A warning that influenza is a “significant public health problem” this winter was issued by England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer as a nasty and vicious cold flooded the UK for weeks.
The disease – dubbed “the worst lurgy ever” by one sufferer – is spreading across the UK, with the South West, North West and London being particularly hard hit.
In the northwest, people have shared their experiences on social media, the reported Manchester evening news. Comments contain:
- “I’ve had a terrible cold for almost three weeks, I can’t seem to get rid of it”
- “I’ve had a cold the last few days. First in over two years and it’s a bastard!”
“It has been going through my house for the past two weeks. We all had Covid, but we did tests just in case. All were negative, however.”
It comes when England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned that influenza was a “major public health problem” this winter – because our natural immunity was lowered by two years of lockdowns, social distancing, increased hand washing and masks . Wear and tear.
On Friday, Professor Van-Tam said: “Last year not many people got the flu due to Covid-19 restrictions, so there is not as much natural immunity as usual in our communities.
“This winter we’ll see the flu circulate; it could be higher than usual, making it a significant public health problem.
“Covid-19 will still be around and, unfortunately, as more people mix indoors, some increases are possible.
“For the first time, Covid-19 and flu will circulate together. We have to take this seriously and defend ourselves and the NHS by getting the annual flu shot and Covid-19 booster on demand.
“Both viruses are serious: they can spread easily, cause hospitalization, and both can be fatal. It’s really important that people get their vaccines as soon as possible. “
Sajid Javid, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, said: “This year, along with the introduction of the new Covid-19 booster vaccine, we are launching the largest flu vaccination program in our history. Both are important in providing vital protection not only to yourself but also to your loved ones while relieving pressure on the NHS.
“The Covid-19 vaccine program is a fantastic example of how successful vaccination programs can be – with around 130,000 lives saved.
“It is critically important that we continue this incredible advance with all beneficiaries to ensure they receive both their flu and Covid-19 booster injections as soon as they are invited.”
People can book their free NHS flu vaccine through pharmacies or wait for their GP to contact them.
Those eligible for a coronavirus booster vaccination should wait to be contacted, although health and social workers can book one online through the NHS website.
The NHS guidance says you should treat a cold with:
- Rest and sleep
- Keep warm
- Drink plenty of water (fruit juice or pumpkin mixed with water is fine) to avoid dehydration
- Gargle with salt water to relieve a sore throat (not suitable for children)
You should see a family doctor if:
- Your symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks
- Your symptoms suddenly get worse
- Your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivering
- You are concerned about your child’s symptoms
- You feel short of breath or develop chest pain
- You have a long-term illness – for example diabetes or heart, lung or kidney disease
- You have a weakened immune system – for example because you are receiving chemotherapy
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