Health experts are warning people to get the free NHS flu jab in the coming weeks to reduce their risk as newly released official figures show that hospitalisations for flu have increased 86% week on week.

Britain experienced its longest flu season in a decade last year, lasting from October to mid-February.

Public health experts believe we could be in for an equally long flu season this year as the quick-spreading Aussie flu combines with a decline in the uptake of the flu vaccine across the UK, putting vulnerable groups at risk of catching the virus and potentially developing more serious complications as a result including chest infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia or even the worsening of conditions such as asthma and diabetes.