Influenza and Private Flu Vaccinations
What is flu/influenza
Influenza, better known as the flu is an infectious disease that is caused by the appropriately named Influenza virus and predominantly affects your nose, throat and lungs. After the virus gets into the body, it moves towards the respiratory tract and binds to the surface of the cells, resulting in infection. The flu is typically regarded as seasonal since people usually contract it between December and March in the UK, however, outbreaks usually happen as early as October. As a result, it is important to get the flu vaccination if possible.
Whilst the number of influenza cases varies every season and many cases are mild, an average off 17,000 people have died from flu-related symptoms annually during the last 5 years. Moreover, flu cases are expected to be more significant this year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the UK.
Our flu vaccination service is currently only available to those aged 9 to 64.
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Symptoms of flu
It is important to establish that there are a variety of different Influenza viruses, namely: A, B and C. Most people get a Flu from the A and B viruses, as these viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease (known as the flu season) almost every winter in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, influenza A viruses are the only influenza viruses known to cause flu pandemics. On the contrary, influenza type C infections generally cause mild illness.
That being said, it is difficult to determine which type of virus a person has contracted without testing as most of the symptoms are consistent across all three types of Influenza. The most common symptoms include the following, and typically appear within two to three days of contracting the virus:
- A high temperature (38°c+)
- Tiredness or weakness
- Muscle pains
- Joint aches
- Loss of appetite
- Dry cough
- A sore throat
- Runny nose
Difference between flu and coronavirus/COVID-19
Whilst Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus and the flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses (ranging from A to C). Due to the fact that some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Symptoms of Coronavirus include:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you are unsure as to the nature of the virus, we recommend you take our COVID-19 swab test to ensure it is not COVID-19.
Why you should get the flu vaccination
Here at London Doctors Clinic, we provide the quadrivalent influenza vaccination, which is in line with NHS and World Health Organization advice. This vaccine is superior, protecting against four flu virus strains, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
The quadrivalent flu vaccination offers protection for at least 6 months. Protection declines over time because of varying antibody levels and due to changes in circulating influenza viruses from year to year. Hence, in order to reduce risk and stay protected, we recommend that all individuals get vaccinated on a yearly basis.