As the cold days and freezing nights draw in, the beginning of the winter also sadly signifies the beginning of flu season.
It’s the time when everyone starts donning their warm scarves and coats, and coughs, sneezes and sniffles are ten a penny.
This year unfortunately, this flu season looks set to be the worst on record for years, according to the NHS.
The prediction has come straight from Australia and New Zealand, who have just experienced their winter. And according to officials over on the other side of the world, hospitals have struggled to deal with the demand from an unprecedented amount of flu cases.
A reported 98,000 cases of the flu have been seen in Australia this year alone – which is a massive double the rate that was seen last year. Twice the amount of people of last year were also hospitalised.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens admitted at a conference in Manchester that the news could prove to be a real struggle for the NHS, and urged the health service to get as many people vaccinated as possible ahead of the depths of the freezing season.
“The signs from Australia and New Zealand, who are just coming out of their winter, are that it has been a heavy flu season and many of the hospitals down there have struggled to cope.
“For the next three, four, five months, the top priority for every NHS leader, every part of the NHS, is ensuring that the NHS goes into winter in as strong a position as possible.
He continued, “We know we’re going to have more hospital beds open, we know we are better prepared, but we also know that the pressures are going to be real.
Symptoms of flu…
Symptoms of the flu include:
-A sudden fever
-An aching body
-A chesty cough
– A sore throat
-Nausea and a feeling of exhaustion
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Usually, sufferers are able to get over the flu naturally within a week’s time without needing to see the GP – but if symptoms become unusually severe and can’t be eased with pain relief medication, it’s advisable to go and see your doctor.
It’s also advised that if children, pregnant women, people with existing health conditions or elderly patients over 65 contract the flu, to see their doctor straight away.