Aussie flu warning: Cold weather prompts health warnings as deadly infection spreads

Flu is particularly common during the winter months, and it can be a major killer of vulnerable people, according to the NHS.

As cold weather arrives in northern England, Public Health England (PHE) has urged the public to look out for each other.

Ensuring family and friends have access to warm food and drinks, and homes are heated to at least 18 degrees Celsius, could help to lower the number of flu cases, it said.

Aussie flu has already hospitalised about 500 people this winter, latest numbers have revealed.

“Cold weather like this is part of winter – but just because we’re used to it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to protect ourselves from falling ill,” said PHE’s Dr Thomas Waite, of the Extreme Events team.

“Every winter thousands of people die from illnesses linked to exposure to the cold when indoor and outside – that’s why it’s so important we all look out for each other.

“If you can, check on family, friends and neighbours who are older, have young children or who have heart and lung conditions all these groups are particularly vulnerable to cold.

“Keep a close eye on weather forecasts so you’re up to date with what’s happening in your area, keep homes heated to at least 18C and remember wearing several thin layers can be more effective than fewer thicker ones.”

The Aussie flu virus is a mutated form of the Influenza A (H3N2) virus.

Symptoms of the deadly infection include headaches, difficulty sleeping, vomiting, diarrhoea and a fever.

The best way to prevent getting flu is to get the flu jab, according to the NHS.

The flu vaccines provides good protection against flu viruses, and lasts for one year, it added.

Eighty-five people have died from flu since the beginning of October, PHE has revealed.

The number of cases is expected to continue rising, it warned.

PHE Medical Director, Professor Paul Cosford, said: “Our data shows that more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms, and we are seeing more people admitted to hospital with flu.

“We encourage anyone who is eligible to take up their offer of the flu vaccine – it is not too late.”