PEOPLE who feel unwell and may have flu have been urged to not bring the virus into hospitals, schools or workplaces where it can spread rapidly.

Confirmed influenza cases across England rose sharply in the final few weeks of 2012, according to the Health protection Agency.

And last week there were 22 confirmed cases in Blackburn with Darwen area and 18 across the rest of East Lancashire affecting people of all ages.

Dr Ian Stanley, deputy medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It is important people are able to differentiate between flu and a heavy cold.

Flu causes a sudden high temperature, headache and general aches and pains, tiredness and sore throat.

“You can also lose your appetite, feel nauseous and have a cough. The symptoms can make you feel so exhausted and unwell you have to stay in bed and rest until you feel better.

“Symptoms peak after two to three days and you should begin to feel much better after a week or so, although you may feel tired for much longer.

“The trust asks that people experiencing any flu-like symptoms please refrain from visiting the hospital to keep patients who are unwell and therefore at increased risk, safe from contracting the virus and from passing the virus on.”