Flu cases in the UK have increased earlier this winter than usual, perhaps by over a month.
Other unpleasant respiratory infections such as RSV are also on the rise.
Information from around the world can help us predict what might type of flu season might be heading our way.
- Australia has just come to the end of a bad flu season, with a dramatic increase in flu cases and hospitalisations relative to the mild season it experienced last year, in a pattern likely to be replicated in the UK.
- In the USA, by the end of November 2022 there had already been more than 6.2 million flu cases, with 53,000 hospitalisations, and 2,900 deaths from flu.
- Across Europe as a whole, the flu season has commenced earlier than in the 4 previous seasons, and the proportion of positive tests from sentinel locations has exceeded the technical threshold for consideration as an epidemic.
Meanwhile, UK vaccination rates have so far been low: by the end of November, when the flu vaccination campaign should be largely complete, fewer than 40% of “at risk” adults under 65 had been vaccinated, fewer than 25% of healthy adults aged 50 to 64, and fewer than 30% of pregnant women.
So this winter’s flu season is likely to be more severe, and not enough people will be protected.
What can you do to keep well this winter?
Get Vaccinated . Get Tested . Get Treatment
The good news is that circulating flu strains have so far been a good match with this year’s flu vaccines. It is not too late to be vaccinated. Vaccines are still available. At this point in the season, our preferred vaccine for adults is our premium recombinant vaccine, Supemtek, which is known to be highly immunogenic.
Flu cases in children are rising but the nasal spray vaccine has so far been in restricted supply. If your child has not yet been able to obtain the flu spray, injected flu vaccines are at least as effective and should be given without further delay.
At the Fleet Street Clinic, we can test quickly and accurately for a full panel of respiratory viruses in our own laboratory. It is helpful to know whether you are suffering from flu, covid, or another circulating virus such as RSV or metapneumovirus. We can tailor treatment to the result, help you know how long symptoms will last, and can help you prevent spreading it to others – especially important over the Christmas period when socialising in high at work and amongst family and friends.
Flu is treatable with anti-viral drugs, which reduce symptoms and speed recovery. Preventive treatment for close contacts and other members of your family is also something we can help with, available from our GPs. Knowing for certain that you have a viral infection can also help avoid unnecessary antibiotic treatment.
We can also provide onsite Workplace Flu Vaccinations for companies in the UK – for more information.
If you have a heart condition you have a greater risk of becoming more seriously ill from flu (seasonal influenza) than the general population. In addition, having the flu can exacerbate pre-existing conditions like diabetes or asthma.
According to the NHS, “every year over 11,000 people in England die from complications caused by the flu virus. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by having the flu vaccination.”
Preventing the flu in the first place is the best option.
The best protection is to have a Flu Vaccine each winter.
What is the flu?
Many people think having influenza, also known as the flu, is like having a bad cold, but in reality flu is a nasty respiratory virus that can make you very unwell. Influenza causes inflammation in the body and can be very serious – sometimes leading to hospitalisation or even death.
There is evidence that heart attacks happen more often during or immediately after an acute inflammatory illness, such as flu.
A flu jab is the best protection against flu.
In general, the flu causes stress and inflammation on the body, increasing blood pressure, heart rate and heart function. This is not good for someone with heart or circulatory problems.
Flu vaccination is strongly recommended for anyone who has ever had a heart attack, stroke or has underlying heart disease. A previous diagnosis of heart or circulatory diseases is considered a high risk factor for complications or even another heart attack, for anyone who becomes ill with flu.
Does flu affect heart medication?
If you take warfarin, flu symptoms can affect your blood clotting rate (INR). You should speak to your doctor if this happens so they can monitor your situation closely. It does also mean if you do become unwell, it may take you longer to recover than the average person.
In addition, some over-the-counter flu medicines can’t be used when taking medicines for heart conditions, so contact your doctor before taking things like painkillers and cough medicines. It is better to check before beginning any new medications.
When is the best time to get the flu jab?
Flu vaccinations become available from mid to late September, and through the season until February. It’s best to get your flu vaccine in September or October. The peak time for catching flu runs from Christmas to Easter. The aim is to be vaccinated before flu transmission starts, and to allow at least a couple of weeks post-vaccination, for maximum immunity to develop. The sooner you have the vaccination, the sooner you will be protected.
We have specialist flu vaccinations available, such as an egg-free alternative, FluAd (for those aged 65 year and older), kids nasal spray or the premium recombinant flu jab. You can book these online too.
It is important to have a flu jab every year because the flu virus can change. There are many strains of flu already and some are more dominant than others. Each year strains are analysed to determine which strains are likely to be the prevalent strains circulating that year. They can vary year to year so relying on a past vaccination for protection is risky. The previous year’s vaccine may not offer you the right protection against the strains in circulation this year.
In addition, immunity to flu decreases over time. Exposure to the flu virus strengthens the immune response and offers natural protection. With less flu circulating over the past few years due to covid restriction measures, natural immunity in the general population will have decreased.
A flu vaccine will boost immunity.
In comparison to the previous year many workers have now returned to the office, social distancing restrictions have eased and in general there are less protective measures set in place. This means that there is a greater chance of the flu spreading and more people falling ill this winter. Although there has been a massive easing of covid restrictions this year that doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over. With both illnesses circulating around it is highly recommended to reduce the risk by getting the flu jab.
Protect yourself against the flu.
You can find more information on the types of flu vaccines available.
Wanting to book a Workplace Flu Vaccination Programme?
Flujabs.org is part of Fleet Street Clinic and has been providing workplace flu vaccinations to UK businesses for many years.
Request a quote – Fill out the online form and one of our flu coordinators will get back to you with current availability and costs.
Some infections can harm your baby if you catch them during pregnancy. Research suggests that the flu, in particular strains such as H1N1 (swine flu), can significantly increase the risk of complications to expecting mothers and their unborn babies.
Vaccinating expecting mothers against flu or before pregnancy can provide the newborn baby with significant ‘passive’ protection – which can last several weeks after birth. This is important because babies cannot be vaccinated themselves until they are 6 months old. So, a mother’s vaccination is strongly advised.
Fleet Street Clinic are urging all the mums-to-be to have the vaccine. The Quadrivalent Flu Jab can be safely given at any point during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus. Pregnant women are at risk of complications from the flu at any stage of pregnancy. So therefore, it is important for those expecting to get their flu jab as early as possible.
If you are currently planning your pregnancy, it would be sensible to consider getting your flu jab prior to becoming pregnant.
The flu vaccine can safely be given to pregnant women at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine. You can have the whooping cough vaccine from 16 weeks onwards.
The vaccine is inactivated, and cannot cause flu itself.
Having the flu vaccine is the best protection.
If you are interested in booking flu vaccinations for your staff, visit flujabs.org for more information and to get a quote.
Have you thought about Corporate Flu Vaccinations?
The winter season can be problematic for businesses, as employees take time off due to sickness and annual leave. Illnesses such as flu are most likely to affect employees during the autumn and winter months.
If you are in charge of organising your company healthcare and wellbeing programmes, you may be unsure about whether to offer flu vaccines. The fact is, workplace flu vaccination can offer a significant return on investment in terms of reduced absenteeism and increased efficiency in the office, meaning there is one less thing to worry about.
We respond to some common questions about corporate flu programmes here:
WHAT TIME OF YEAR SHOULD I ORGANISE MY COMPANY’S corporate FLU VACCINATIONS?
Plan ahead and book the session as early as you feel able. This will ensure you’ll get the dates you want to suit your companies needs.
For best protection, the optimal timing for vaccination is between September and early December, before flu viruses begin to circulate. Each year, October and November prove a popular choice but we can vaccine up until February 2021.
WHY SHOULD I PROVIDE CORPORATE FLU VACCINATIONS FOR MY STAFF?
A flu outbreak in the workplace can cause an increase in absenteeism, which can result in a loss of productivity as well as increasing the workload of any staff that do not succumb to infection. For large and small organisations alike, this can have a massive impact on productivity and revenue. Furthermore, this year in particular, flu symptoms are extremely hard to distinguish between Covid-19. Getting the flu jab has become even more important than in previous years to eliminate potential confusion.
Workplace vaccinations are a great way of promoting health and wellbeing among your employees and demonstrating a caring ethos.
Benefits of the Flu Vaccine include:
- Flu vaccinations improve the wellbeing of your employees, promoting job satisfaction and a positive work atmosphere.
- Flu vaccinations reduce absenteeism.
- The greater the number of people who are vaccinated, the less potential there is for flu to spread through your workplace, among staff members families, and within the local community.
- Annual seasonal flu vaccination is the best way to reduce the chances of becoming ill with the flu.
HOW MANY PEOPLE TAKE UP THE FLU VACCINATION?
Workplace flu vaccination uptake can vary. Internal promotion and communication can make a big impact on likely numbers; motivation to avoid illness, and perception of current risk are also key factors. A good general guide, based on past years indicated an uptake of between 25%-45%. Due to more awareness of viral infections due to Covid-19, we anticipate this uptake to be higher this year and that given the option, most staff would probably choose to be vaccinated.
How Much Money Can You Save Your Company with a Flu Vaccine Programme?
Calculate the likely savings your company can make from a successful flu programme by visiting our corporate flu calculator here.
Fleet Street Clinic offers workplace flu vaccination programmes both on-site across the UK, and at our drop-in clinic in central London, via our flu vaccination programme, FluJabs.Org.
Are you considering setting up a corporate health programme for your company?
The benefits of introducing a workplace health and wellbeing programme are clear: it has been proven that a successful corporate wellbeing programme leads to higher productivity, decreases in absenteeism and lower staff turnover. Ultimately, if your employees feeling healthy and looked after at work, it allows them to reach their potential and helps your company to achieve its business goals.
Perhaps as a result of the growing evidence in favour of such initiatives, businesses are now investing more than ever into corporate wellness programmes.
But with so many options available, how do you begin to create your own bespoke workplace programme? Firstly, be prepared to set aside time and budget. At the initial planning stage, there are several important factors to consider: how to structure the programme to your company’s ethos and business objectives, how to ensure staff involvement (at all levels), considering the size of your workplace, personalisation according to the needs of your company and the requirements of individual employees.
Fleet Street Clinic Corporate Wellbeing Programmes
At Fleet Street Clinic, we create bespoke corporate programmes across the UK. We work with companies of all sizes – from local businesses to City firms to international media agencies. We have a wealth of medical experts available, from hypnotherapists, osteopaths, dieticians, and can offer all kinds of services on site such as flu jabs, health screens and GP services.
We deliver programmes designed to boost the health and happiness of your staff, building and strengthening your workforce.
Want to find out more? You can visit our Corporate Healthcare Services page and make an enquiry. One of our Corporate Managers will be in touch soon.
Corporate Flu Vaccination Programmes
Flujabs.org is the flu vaccination service of Fleet Street Clinic, providing vaccinations to the UK and worldwide for over 20 years.
Make sure to protect your workforce this winter by offering flu vaccines to your employees.
Flu Vaccines in London
Private Flu Vaccination Clinic London
Are you looking for a flu vaccine in London?
Fleet Street Clinic’s flu vaccination clinic in central London is open until March 2021. We have highly-qualified staff on hand, experienced at vaccinating all ages, including young children and babies.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are inviting all patients to book in their chosen appointment. This was we can manage the number of people waiting at any given time.
Please arrive at your appointed time and you will be seen by our welcoming team. Help us keep you safe by booking in your appointment and turning up to it alone, wearing a face covering.
Here are a few useful things to know before you come:
FLUJABS CLINIC LOCATION
We are based in central London at Fleet Street Clinic, 29 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AA. Our flu vaccine service runs by appointment-only most weekdays, Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.
WHEN IS THE FLU VACCINE SERVICE AVAILABLE?
You can be vaccinated against flu at Fleet Street Clinic most weekdays between 9am – 5pm (please note these opening times are different to those of Fleet Street Clinic). Check availability and book an appointment prior to turning up.
The flu clinic is open until March 2021.
HOW MUCH DO THE FLU VACCINES COST?
View a full list of costs here.
WHAT FLU VACCINES DO YOU USE?
As a specialist centre, we offer a wide choice of flu vaccine types and technologies available. Find out more…
DID YOU KNOW?
The Fleet Street Clinic is the only UK medical practice to offer point-of care flu diagnosis using molecular technology. We can provide a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of flu and other upper respiratory viruses including Covid-19 – in just over an hour. We don’t just vaccinate against flu, we can diagnose and treat in a single visit.
If you have any further questions about the flu jab or other travel vaccinations, our experienced team of nurses can help.