Flu Vaccination


Ask your pharmacist or doctor, for more information about the flu and flu vaccination

Fact #1

The best way to avoid catching it and spreading it is to have a flu vaccination each year

Fact #2

Influenza (the flu) is more severe than the common cold and can have serious complications for some people

Fact #3

The best protection against flu is having a flu shot every year

  • About the flu (influenza) About the flu (influenza)

    About the flu (influenza)

    The flu (influenza) is caused by a respiratory virus that spreads easily from person to person. Anyone can catch flu. There are two main types of flu virus (influenza A and influenza B) and many strains of each type.

    Most people who are young and healthy will recover well from flu, but some people have complications (e.g. pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections).

    Pneumonia can be fatal for older people and people with long-term medical conditions. 

    Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Your pharmacist can give you advice on managing symptoms and about over-the-counter medicines.

  • Flu symptoms Flu symptoms

    Flu symptoms

    Flu symptoms are similar to a cold, but typically come on suddenly, last longer, cause high fevers, and make you more ill than with a cold. Symptoms usually start suddenly with chills and a high fever.

    Common symptoms include:

    • Fever
    • Aches and pains
    • Tiredness
    • Weakness
    • Headache


    Respiratory symptoms are usually mild at first e.g. scratchy sore throat, dry cough and runny nose. These can develop into a phlegmy cough. Less common symptoms include nausea and vomiting.

    Most symptoms usually last 2–3 days. Fever may persist for up to 5 days and cough can last even longer.

  • How to avoid catching and spreading flu How to avoid catching and spreading flu

    How to avoid catching and spreading flu

    • Have a flu vaccination each year.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu virus.
    • Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Flu vaccination facts Flu vaccination facts

    Flu vaccination facts

    There are many different strains of the flu virus. The viruses are always evolving and changing. Each year, the flu vaccine is formulated to work against the most common strains.

    To stay protected against flu, you need to be vaccinated every year.

    The best time of year to get your flu shot is early autumn, even if you had a shot during winter. You will be protected by about 2 weeks later.

    Even if you have had a flu vaccination, you can still be infected by a different strain that is not covered by the vaccine.

    A small percentage of people (e.g. people with a weakened immune system) do not respond to the flu shot and may still develop flu. Vaccination is most effective in stopping the spread of flu within a community when many people are vaccinated, not just a few. If you don’t catch it, you can’t pass it on.

  • After your flu shot After your flu shot

    After your flu shot

    You can’t catch the flu from the vaccine.

    Some people experience mild reactions after a flu vaccination. These can include:

    • Mild fever
    • Aches
    • Soreness
    • Redness or swelling where the vaccine was given.


    Most people don’t need any treatment.

    If you have symptoms, talk to your pharmacist or doctor. Serious events (e.g. severe allergic reaction to the vaccine) are very rare.

    For more information about possible side-effects of flu vaccination, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

  • How flu spreads How flu spreads

    How flu spreads

    When someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks, the virus travels through the air in invisible droplets. You can become infected by breathing in droplets in the air, touching an infected person, or touching a surface that has become infected.

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