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Infection advice / Flu vaccines

In otherwise healthy young adults, flu can be unpleasant but will usually clear up on its own within one week. Remember, antibiotics will not cure your flu as it is a viral infection, not a bacterial infection. Some individuals who are particularly at risk of flu are recommended to have a flu vaccine.

Who should have the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is given free as an annual injection to everyone at risk of getting the flu. This includes:

  • Pregnant women
  • All adults over 65
  • Those at risk of flu, for example asthmatics taking steroids, people with underlying health issues especially relating to the heart, and adults with weakened immune systems

The flu jab will help prevent individuals getting the flu. However if you do get the flu after being vaccinated, it's likely to be milder than it would otherwise have been.

New flu vaccines are produced each year because protection from the flu gradually decreases and flu strains often change. It is therefore recommended that those who are at risk of getting the flu have the vaccine every year.

Young adults over 18 will receive the vaccine as an injection; if you are 17 or younger you may be able to receive the nasal spray flu vaccine.

The nasal spray flu vaccine

Over the next few years, the nasal spray flu vaccine will be offered to all children and young adults up to age 17 annually. Currently the vaccine is available free on the NHS for young children and those up to 17 with long-term health conditions (see above).

The nasal spray vaccine will be available from your GP; some children may receive the vaccine at school.

If you think you are at risk of getting flu speak to your GP, practice nurse, or your local pharmacist, to book a vaccination appointment and get the best possible protection. It is best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn (October-November) before any outbreaks of flu.

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit the NHS Choices website or talk to your school nurse.

Watch the Pass It On, But Not The Flu! video below, created by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust to educate senior students about the flu nasal spray.

Watch this Public Health England campaign video below about the importance of the flu jab.