Flu season has started says HPA

The Health Protection Agency has warned that this winter's flu season is under way after increases in the number of school children with the infection.

It said there had been a rise in GP visits, outbreaks at schools and calls to NHS Direct about children aged five to 14.

Symptoms include a sudden fever, cough, sore throat, as well as aching muscles and joints.

Last winter was an incredibly mild flu season.

Dr Richard Pebody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at the HPA said: "We are seeing an increase in flu activity mainly among school children indicating the start of this year's flu season.

"Flu vaccination is still the most effective way of preventing flu and it is not too late to get it so we would encourage all those who are in 'at risk' groups to get vaccinated as they are more vulnerable to developing complications from flu.

"These include people with underlying conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, lung, liver or renal diseases and those with weakened immune systems, as well as older people and pregnant women."