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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Confusion over flu could be fatal

3rd October 2008

People have been warned about underestimating the dangers of flu.


The man in charge of vaccinations in England says that people who do not take the threat of flu seriously enough could be putting their lives at risk.

The warning from Professor David Salisbury comes after a survey of more than 1,000 people found that a third of them thought flu was the same as a heavy cold.

The Department of Health’s director of immunisation is urging over-65s and other "at-risk" groups to visit their doctor for a flu vaccination and his advice has been supported by a number of charities which say complications from flu can be serious or even fatal.

Professor Salisbury said: "The research shows that common colds are frequently confused with flu, but for some the flu virus can be potentially life-threatening.

"We are urging those at greater risk - including people suffering serious heart problems, asthma and diabetes - to get their flu jab from their GP. The flu jab can literally save lives."

The flu vaccine is available free to older people and those with conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease, though last year figures show that fewer than half of those under 65 who were eligible for the vaccine actually had it.

The British Heart Foundation warned that in extreme cases flu could trigger a heart attack or stroke in those who already had heart problems while Asthma UK said that people with asthma should discuss having a flu jab with their GP.


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