You can help protect against catching and spreading flu with good hygiene practices:1,2

  • Wash your hands and regularly clean surfaces to get rid of viruses
  • Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Put used tissues in a bin as soon as possible
  • Regularly clean surfaces (e.g., computer keyboards, telephones and door handles) to help get rid of viruses
Family walking in the countryside

Getting your flu vaccination is recommended by the NHS as a step that can also help protect you from getting and spreading flu.1,2 The injectable flu vaccination cannot give you flu – it can help reduce the risk of the more serious effects of flu.3,4

The flu vaccination activates your body’s internal defence – your immune system – to create the proteins that ‘fight’ influenza, the virus that causes flu. These proteins are known as ‘antibodies’, and they may work against the different types of influenza, which are called ‘strains’.5 Your body may take 10–14 days to ‘teach’ your immune system to work against the influenza strains contained in the flu vaccination. 5 Then, if you are exposed to the flu virus, your immune system will be able to recognise the virus and make the correct antibodies to fight it. 5 However, if you are exposed to the flu virus before your immunity is built up from the flu vaccination, you may get flu.5

Talk to your GP, nurse or pharmacist if you would like further information or advice about flu vaccination and other ways to help prevent catching and spreading flu.

  • 1. NHS Inform Scotland. Flu. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/flu [Last accessed November 2020].
  • 2. Public Health England. Public health matters – Flu vaccination: What you need to know about this year’s vaccine. Available at: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2018/09/13/flu-vaccination-what-you-need-to-know-about-this-years-programme/ [Last accessed November 2020].
    3. NHS. Facts about the flu and flu vaccine. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/facts-about-flu-and-the-flu-vaccine/ [Last accessed November 2020].
  • 4. NHS. Who should have the flu vaccine? Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/who-should-have-flu-vaccine/ [Last accessed November 2020].
  • 5. NHS. How the flu vaccine works. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/how-flu-vaccine-works/ [Last accessed November 2020].

Date of preparation: November 2020 | MAT-GB-2001687(v1.0)