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Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually begin to feel better within about a week.

You can catch flu all year round, but it is especially common in winter, so, it is also known as "seasonal flu".

It's not the same as the  common cold. Flu is caused by a different group of viruses and the symptoms tend to start more suddenly, be more severe and last longer.

Read more about flu and how to combat it.

Protecting yourself from seasonal flu

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

However, flu can be more severe or have greater impact in certain people: anyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or lung disease), children and adults with weakened immune systems and carers. If you are not sure whether you are in an at risk group a full list is here.

If you are in any of the above groups then you qualify for a free flu jab which you can receive from your GP or your local pharmacy.

If you are a healthy adult who is not in the above at risks groups then you may still be able to pay for a flu jab, please speak to your local pharmacist.

Protecting children from flu

Flu nasal Spray or vaccine is available free on the NHS for eligible children. For more information including who is eligible please visit NHS Choices Child flu page

Last reviewed: 03/10/2016

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