As flu levels ramp up, Public Health England (PHE) has activated the Catch It, Bin It, Kill It campaign to help prevent the spread of the highly infectious disease.
The digital and print campaign encourages the public to carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes, bin the used tissues as soon as possible and then wash their hands to kill the germs.
Aside from getting vaccinated, good respiratory and hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of the flu virus, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
The flu season started slightly earlier this year and there is an increased risk of flu while the country celebrates Christmas, Hanukah and the New Year.
The latest surveillance data from PHE shows that GP consultations for influenza-like illness are rising, while the impact of flu on hospitals is at moderate levels.
Flu vaccine uptake in over-65s was higher than the same time last year at 68.7%, but uptake is lower in at-risk groups, pregnant women and children.
Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Head of Flu, Public Health England (PHE) said:
“Flu season has now started and so it’s really important that people get their flu vaccine as soon as possible to ensure they are protected against this potentially very serious illness.
“Flu is very infectious and spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
“To reduce the risk of spreading flu, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with warm water and soap, and bin used tissues as quickly as possible. Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.”
Flu is characterised by a fever, chills, headache, aching muscles and joint pain and fatigue. For most healthy people, flu symptoms can make you feel so exhausted and unwell that you have to stay in bed and rest until you get better.
Flu can be serious and even deadly for older adults, very young children and people with underlying health conditions.
If you or your child are in an eligible group, make sure you get a flu vaccine.