You’re TWICE as likely to die if you catch flu and Covid together – as ‘twindemic’ threatens UK

CATCHING both flu and Covid-19 together could double your risk of death and Brits have been urged to come forward for their flu jabs.

Health experts have warned of a potential 'twindemic' this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to the flu during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On average, flu kills around 11,000 people in England every winter.

Deaths from flu could reach 60,000 this winter and it is thought that the UK could see the worst fatality rate in 50 years.

This, experts say would be the worst case scenario.

During the last bad flu winter in 2017-18, the figure was double this with almost 300 people a day dying from the virus.

Flu and other winter viruses are responsible for more than 1,000 hospital admissions a day in winter months.

At present across the UK over 600 people a day are being admitted to hospital with coronavirus and 122 are dying from Covid-19.

The government has launched its biggest ever campaign to get people to have their flu jab.

A previous report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that the risk of death more than doubled in people who had both Covid and the flu.

The highest risk groups for flu are the same as Covid, topped by the over-50s and clinically vulnerable, and a record 35million people will be eligible for a free jab with 30m getting Covid boosters.

Scientists don’t know how well the flu vaccines will work this year – they usually base them on strains circulating in Australia’s winter but there haven’t been any major outbreaks.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “We are facing a challenging winter but we can all help ourselves and those around us by taking up the Covid-19 booster and flu vaccine, if eligible.”

What are the symptoms of flu?

The NHS explains that the main symptoms include a fever of more than 38C, a chesty cough, headache, tiredness and aching muscles as well as a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing.

Some people can also experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea or joint and limb pain.

It usually takes between one and three days for flu symptoms to develop after catching the virus.

In most cases people feel better after a week.

It is spread in droplets, meaning that anyone sneezing, coughing or talking up to six feet away from you can spread it to you.

People who have been vaccinated have a much better chance of fighting it off. The NHS offers vulnerable people free vaccinations.

The incubation period (between exposure and symptoms) is between one and four days.

After symptoms have begun, adults are contagious for five to 10 days but children can be contagious for longer.

Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, added: “This year it’s more important than ever to take up the offer of a flu jab and Covid-19 booster. 

“Both illnesses are capable of taking a terrible toll on an older person but being vaccinated will help keep you, and those around you, safe and well through the winter months to come.”

The NHS says that getting vaccinated against flu and Covid-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses.

It states: "If you've had Covid-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu."

On his most recent YouTube video, Professor Tim Spector of King's College London, and head of the ZOE Symptom Tracker app said people should get both their boosters and a flu jab.

He revealed that he had both his booster shot and his flu jab on the same day to 'get it done'.

Prof Spector said the only side effect he suffered was a slight headache which went away in a few hours.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccine should come forward to get it as soon as possible. 

If you want to pay for a flu jab they cost £14.99 at Boots are are also available at other pharmacies such as Lloyds.

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