Q. How might I catch flu?
The virus is spread mainly by coughing and sneezing, and moves quickly from person to person. Public places such as toilets, trains, buses and shops are particular hot spots.
Q. What are the symptoms?
Look out for extra symptoms that you wouldn’t experience with a normal cold – aching muscles, headaches, chills, fever (38°C/100.4°F or above), upset stomach/diarrhoea and loss of appetite. You may also have a dry, chesty cough and a runny or blocked nose.
Q. How can I protect myself?
Wash your hands frequently (as you would normally after using the loo – public or otherwise – but also after travelling on public transport). Carry an antibacterial hand sanitiser or wipes, and get the flu jab. The vaccine is free and offers 70-80% protection from the three most threatening strains of flu for one year.
Q. Is the jab safe?
Every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) decides which are the three strains of flu that pose the greatest threat to health, and the jab is created to defend against them. The 2010 vaccine will include protection against a strain much like swine flu. Professor David Salisbury, the government’s director of immunisation, recommends that all people in the ‘at risk’ categories have the vaccination, including pregnant women. There is no evidence to suggest the flu vaccine will cause any harm to pregnant women or their unborn babies.