Kingston upon Hull has been identified by health officials as a hot spot for a potential H3N2 outbreak. Health services are preparing for the outbreak with the potential of a large outbreak of the Aussie flu expected. The map, which has been issued by an online influenza surveillance system, shows the severity of flu outbreaks in areas across the country via a gradient of no reports to ‘very high’ reports. While blue areas show the places largely unaffected, Hull and parts of East Yorkshire is coloured red – meaning there is a high outbreak of flu in our region.
The data from the Flu Survey map is used by researchers at Public Health England and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. You can view the full map here. Although Hull does not have as many flu reports as across the River Humber in Lincolnshire, it is still one of the worst affected in the country. Aussie Flu, known as H3N2, has reached the UK, with cases reported up and down the country. It was responsible for a number of deaths in Australia. It’s especially dangerous for the young, elderly and those who have respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
Doctors are now warning children – particularly those aged between five and 14 – could be most at risk. Public health officials are urging people who are eligible for the free flu vaccination should “get it without delay”. This year’s flu vaccine has been developed to tackle the main strains which are circulating this season, including H3N2. If you or your child suffer with a long term health condition such as asthma and are eligible for the flu vaccination please do not delay and get yourselves book in to see your GP or Nurse, it’s extremely important that you take proactive steps in protect yourselves.
H3N2 was responsible for the worst flu outbreak in Australia in a decade and theirs nothing to suggest that the impact will be any different in the UK. H3N2 Influenza A mainly affects older people, those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and children. As flu viruses are constantly mutating, vaccines to protect against the disease have to change each season. People are asked to take particular caution to spreading germs by washing their hands more often, covering their mouths and noses when they cough, and cleaning surfaces.
What are the symptoms of H3N2?
- Sore throat and cough
- Muscle ache
- Runny nose and sneezing
Symptoms are similar to those caused by normal flu, but they are more severe. People should recover from normal flu within a week so, although the cough and fatigue may last longer. So if you are still really ill after seven days, it is a good indication of something more serious. Aussie flu (H3N2) can lead to pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications. If you do suffer with asthma or any other long term health condition please seek advice about the flu jab. If you are unsure if you need to have one call your GP and check. Please take this seriously and make sure you are prepared and protected.