DOCTORS are seeing more flu cases this year than last.

Great Western Hospital's chief nurse Hilary Walker said that early indications were that this could be the busiest flu year in the last three.

She told a meeting of the GWH's board of directors: “We are seeing flu, probably in higher numbers this year than last year or the year before – although they were arguably lower than usual.”

However, concerns that the UK could see a repeat of Australia’s recent flu epidemic – which left thousands seeking hospital treatment – were not yet apparent.

“I don’t think yet it’s as scary as some of the indications suggested it might be,” she said.

GWH’s medical director Guy Rooney told the meeting that it was particularly important that children get vaccinated.

A flu vaccine, administered in the form of a nasal spray, is offered free to children aged from two until school year four. All children with a health condition, such as severe asthma, which puts them at greater risk from flu are also eligible for the free flue vaccination.

Dr Ardiana Gjini, screening and immunisations lead for NHS England in Bath and North East Somerset, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire, said: “Children can become very poorly if they catch flu, sometimes even causing serious illness.

“Flu in children also poses a significant impact on the wider family, as parents and guardians may have to take time off work to look after them.”

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