Aussie flu: 85 people have died from flu this winter, and the number is still rising
Aussie flu has been recorded in every postcode of the UK, and is continuing to spread.
Eighty five people have died from influenza since October 5, with 27 of those coming in the first week of January, a shock Public Health England (PHE) report has revealed.
Almost 2,000 people have been hospitalised by flu this winter, the report also revealed. About one in four of those cases were caused by the deadly Aussie flu.
The amount of people visiting their GP for flu-like illnesses has risen by 78 per cent, as PHE urges people to get the flu jab.
PHE Medical Director, Professor Paul Cosford, said: “Our data shows that more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms, and we are seeing more people admitted to hospital with flu.
“We are currently seeing a mix of flu types, including the A[H3N2] strain that circulated last winter in the UK, and then in Australia. The A[H3N2] strain particularly affects older, more vulnerable age groups.
“We encourage anyone who is eligible to take up their offer of the flu vaccine – it is not too late.”
The public was urged to catch coughs or sneezes in tissues, and to bin them immediately.
Washing hands regularly with soap and warm water could limit the spread of flu, Cosford said. Frequently cleaning surfaces would also lower the risk of viruses spreading.
Having good hand hygiene and being vaccinated against flu is the best defence against influenza viruses, he added.
Less than half of adults with long-term health conditions have had the flu jab, while just 41 per cent of three-year olds were vaccinated.
Aussie flu is caused by the influenza A H3N2 virus strain. Some trivalent and quadrivalent flu jabs could protect against the specific flu strain, according to both Boots and Superdrug.
Symptoms of the condition are more severe than normal flu. Headaches, fevers, muscle aches, sore throats and coughs are all signs of the condition.
You should only see a GP for flu if you’re over 65, are pregnant, or have a lung, heart, kidney, liver or neurological condition.
These patients are most at-risk of Aussie flu’s complications, which includes pneumonia.