A North Devon GP is urging people to have the flu jab before the winter sets in.

Dr Bruce Hughes, chairman of Devon Local Medical Committee and a partner at Fremington Medical Centre, is encouraging people to have the potentially life-saving vaccine.

He said: “People should not underestimate the effects of seasonal flu – it is unpleasant at best and a potential killer at worst.

“The vaccination is the first line of defence, so I’d strongly advise people to take action and have it at their local GP practice early, before flu starts to circulate in the community as it gets colder and winter takes hold.”

Some groups of people – pregnant women, young children aged two to four, carers, those with long-term health conditions like heart disease or breathing problems, and over 65s – are more susceptible to flu and its effects, so it is particularly important that they are vaccinated. They can have the vaccine free of charge.

Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include a fever, chills, cough, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.

People who are otherwise fit and healthy usually don’t need to see a doctor if they have flu-like symptoms and should self-care. At risk groups who display flu-like symptoms may wish to consider calling NHS 111 or their GP.

For more information about flu, and the vaccination, visit the NHS website.