Move over the Aussie flu - there's a new deadly bug on the brink of hitting Britain.

The NHS has issued a health warning to its workers over having flu jabs.

Health workers are being urged to have the jab as the epidemic from across the Channel threatens to hit the UK.

Worryingly, figures show as few as one in three workers have been vaccinated at some hospitals.

According to the Coventry Telegraph , NHS trusts are failing to get medical workers to have flu jabs amid the warnings that the French epidemic could spread to Britain.

The paper reports: “It comes amid a deepening NHS winter crisis, with 24 hospital trusts declaring ‘black alerts’ last week, as pressures threatened to overwhelm them, and thousands of patients stuck in ambulances outside hospitals as flu rates soar.”

It has been reported that around one quarter of NHS staff will contract flu during an average winter period.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that figures suggest around half will not show symptoms, which means they could remain in work and spread infections.

Warnings come after a study by Imperial College London which found every 10 per cent increase in NHS vaccination rates was linked with a 10 per cent fall in sickness absence.

Parts of the West Midlands are seeing increasing levels of flu as a severe strain strikes the UK.

One strain of influenza, known as H3N2, and sparked particular concern and become known as “Aussie flu” as Australia suffered a severe outbreak late last year.

The Flusurvey map , created by Public Health England and others, reveals that parts of the region are suffering far greater than others.

On the map, swathes of Staffordshire and Warwickshire are now declared "red," while Birmingham remains the same purple colour as last week.

The graphic shows the amount of influenza like illness (ILI) reported around the UK right now. It shows a gradient from no reported ILI (blue) to very high ILI (red).

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of most flu, including H3N2, are similar, but different strains can be more severe or contagious than others.

Symptoms can include a sudden fever, aches, exhaustion, a dry chesty cough, headaches, sore throats, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and trouble sleeping.

Children can also get ear pain.

What is the difference between flu and a cold?

The symptoms may be similar to a common cold, but flu tends to be more severe.

Flu tends to come on in a few hours, makes you feel exhausted and affects more than the nose and throat alone.

It can also lead to much more serious complications like pneumonia.

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How can you protect yourself?

Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

The flu vaccine is the best protection we have, though flu strains change so it needs to be done every year.

The flu jab is offered free to adults at risk, over-65s, pregnant women and children at risk aged six months to two years old, and a spray is offered to children up to four.

You can have the jab at your GP and some pharmacies - and it's still not too late to do so. Even though it's best to get vaccinated as soon as the flu vaccine is available, getting the vaccine later can still be helpful.

Even as late as January, there are still a few months left in the flu season, so it's still a good idea to get protected.

Serious side effects of the vaccine are rare.

Anyone can help prevent the virus from spreading by washing their hands regularly, covering their mouth and nose with tissues or a sleeve when they cough or sneeze, and cleaning surfaces they suspect are infected.

Aussie flu 'red zone' map shows where deadly bug is hitting worst

How can you treat flu?

Flu usually clears up by itself after around a week, but there are ways you can recover more quickly.

Rest, sleep, keeping warm, taking paracetamol or ibuprofen and drinking lots of water are all recommended.

GPs do not prescribe antibiotics as they will not relieve symptoms or help recovery.

You can seek advice most easily from a pharmacist, and are encouraged not to call 999 or go to A&E unless you develop sudden chest pain, have trouble breathing or start coughing blood.

Patients are advised to only go to their GP if their symptoms fail to improve after seven days, they are a child, over 65, pregnant or have a long-term medical condition or weakened immune system.

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What are the experts saying?

Experts have warned that this year's strain of Aussie flu could be more dangerous than the 1968 flu pandemic that killed more than a million worldwide.

Public health expert Professor Robert Dingwall, of Nottingham Trent University, previously told BT.com it's "almost inevitable" that Aussie flu will strike Britain this winter.

He warned: "The reports from Australia suggest the UK might be in for the worst winter flu season for many years."

Professor Dingwall told the Daily Express that it could be the most serious outbreak of the virus since the pandemic 50 years ago.

But Public Health England said that it was not yet known whether the UK would be hit as hard as Australia.