Hospital cases rise in England as flu comes early
Cases of flu have climbed quickly in the past week in England, suggesting the season has begun earlier than normal. People may have little immunity to flu after low circulation over the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says hospital and ICU admissions for the respiratory disease are rising the fastest in children under five with hospital rates going up among adults aged over 85 too.
It's not clear how big a wave the UK might be in for - levels are still relatively low overall, but health experts are urging anyone who is eligible for a flu shot to get one.
Many countries in the southern hemisphere like Australia and New Zealand have just had their most severe flu season for years and officials have been warning that the UK must prepare for a big, early wave of flu too.
This year, more than 40 million people, including young children, in the UK are being offered a flu vaccine. Children aged 2 to 3 years old can get their flu nasal spray vaccine from their family doctor, while school aged children will be offered the flu nasal spray vaccine at school up until year 9. Parents should look out for communications from schools and sign the consent form when they receive it. Read more about it on our Winter vaccination page.
In addition, the over-50s and younger adults with health conditions are also being offered a Covid booster jab this autumn and winter. Vaccination can help prevent people getting very sick if they do contract the virus and both vaccines are recommended for those at higher risk of illness, which includes:
- everyone over 50
- pregnant women
- people with certain underlying health conditions
- care-home residents
- front-line health and social care workers
For more information about the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccines and where you can get vaccinated visit: nhs.uk/wintervaccination (external link)
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