These are the places in the UK where you’re most likely to catch the flu

These are the most contagious areas (Photo: Shutterstock)These are the most contagious areas (Photo: Shutterstock)
These are the most contagious areas (Photo: Shutterstock)

As temperatures drop and winter makes its way across the UK, more and more of us are contracting winter bugs.

These are the places in the UK where you’re most likely to catch influenza - and how to spot the symptoms.

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Flu hot spots

Using data from Flu Survey, the hot spots across the UK for the illness can be revealed.

The high risk areas according to Flu Survey are:

North West of EnglandEssex, EnglandSouth Lanarkshire, Scotland

Flu Survey relies on people self-reporting their symptoms, so the true figure of each area is likely to be a lot higher.

Flu Survey is a website designed to monitor trends of flu illnesses in the community. You can help to keep Flu Survey accurate by signing up to the website and reporting any flu like symptoms.

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The difference between the flu and a cold

While the common cold and the flu share many of the same symptoms, people can have difficulty identifying which illness they’ve caught.

These are the main differences between the cold and the flu:

Cold symptoms develop gradually whereas flu symptoms present abruptlyYou’re unlikely to get a fever with the cold, but for the flu, that’s standardYou might feel a little achy with the cold, but you’ll likely feel very achy with the fluChills are also uncommon with the cold, but usual for the fluYou’re more likely to suffer from sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat with the cold rather than the fluChest discomfort and headaches are more common with the flu than the cold

What to do if you catch the flu

You can usually treat your flu symptoms without having to visit your GP, and the NHS says that you should start to feel better in about a week.

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In the meantime, the NHS recommends you do the following to get better faster:

Rest and sleepKeep warmTake painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and painsDrink plenty of water to stay hydrated

To avoid spreading the flu to others, you should:

Wash your hands often with soap and warm waterUse tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneezeBin used tissues immediately

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News