YOUNG children as well as the elderly should go for a flu vaccination as soon as possible, says a Huddersfield health chief.
Three children have died in Britain already from one strain of flu and parents are being encouraged to have their youngsters immunised.
Dr Howard Barnes, consultant in public health medicine for the Kirklees and Calderdale area said: "Flu strains change over time and are more likely to affect the young who will have less immunity to them.
"For this reason it is especially important for children over six months, who fall into the at-risk groups, to be vaccinated."
He appealed for people to stay away from work if they felt ill.
"Flu is a highly infectious illness, which spreads very quickly," said Dr Barnes.
He urged people to be prepared and stock up with medicines to treat themselves at home.
"Have paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin to help relieve the aches, pains and raised temperatures of colds and flu," he said.
Children should have paracetamol or ibuprofen syrups, preferably sugar-free, he said.
Dr Barnes added: "It's also a good idea to look out for elderly relatives and neighbours, who may have forgotten to get their flu jab."
For advice on flu ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit the website www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Further information on flu is also available online at http://www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/influenza/flu.htm