A life-threatening flu epidemic could hit the UK this winter, experts have warned.
Health officials confirmed two cases in the US where flu has caused deaths, including a four year old boy in California who died last month, and another child of the same age who died in New York this week.
It has been warned that these cases could indicate a severe outbreak of the virus, which is usually common between October and March.
When is flu season in the UK?
Britain’s flu season tends to mirror that of Australia, which has seen a number of deadly cases take hold in recent months.
So far there have been fatal 662 cases of flu recorded in Australia this year, where it is believed that three strains of the virus are in circulation.
Professor Robert Dingwall, a public health expert at Nottingham Trent University, told The Sun Online, "The Australians have had a very bad flu season and we should expect the same flu strain to appear here later this winter.”
However, he did say that since the strain of the virus is one that was present in the UK last year, vaccines will be readily available.
He advised anybody who has not been vaccinated should do so as soon as possible, and that it is highly important for people who are in vulnerable groups who are offered the vaccine.
He added, "This is especially the case if you are working in a job that involves a lot of contact with the general public, especially with children - toddlers are particularly good at spreading the virus."
What are the symptoms of flu?
According to the NHS, symptoms of flu are:- a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above- an aching body- feeling tired or exhausted- a dry cough- a sore throat- a headache- difficulty sleeping- loss of appetite- diarrhoea or tummy pain- feeling sick and being sick