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Flu advice not to be sniffed at
8:23am Monday 10th January 2011 in Swine flu
FLU has the nation firmly in its grip at the moment.
Last week, York Hospital announced it was having to open extra beds up to flu patients, while the media told how the nation was running out drugs to treat the problem.
The pressure on the NHS has prompted health bosses in Yorkshire to step up their information campaign about how to spot the signs of flu and where you can go for treatment without putting pressure on A&E.
Dr David Geddes, a York GP and medical director at NHS North Yorkshire and York, said: “Using A&E or your out-of-hours GP with minor illnesses such as colds, diarrhoea and vomiting puts additional pressure on the NHS.
“It means staff cannot look after the people with urgent medical conditions who really need them.
“If you have flu-like symptoms the best thing you can do is rest, take cold remedies to relieve symptoms and drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink alcohol as this will reduce your chances of a quick recovery. You may need to stay in bed for two or three days after your symptoms peak.
“Some people are classified as being particularly at risk from flu. These people will have been offered a seasonal flu vaccine from their GP practice and I strongly advise they take up the offer.
“If you are unsure about what course of action to take, you can get advice from your local pharmacist or NHS Direct as well as your GP.”
The recent outbreak has also prompted the Department of Health to remind people of its Catch It, Bin It, Kill It hygiene campaign.
A spokesman said: “When there is ongoing flu, good hygiene is really important. Parents should educate their children to use good hand and respiratory hygiene.
“Children with underlying health conditions should go to their GPs and be vaccinated if they have not already done so following a call from their GP surgery. Parents with further concerns should contact their GP or NHS Direct.”
Where help is at hand
NEED treatment or health advice in the York district? There are more options than you might think:NHS Direct: Phone free on 0845 46 47 for confidential advice on symptoms, treatment and general health and wellbeing. Available 24 hours a day and also online at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Pharmacy: There are 42 pharmacies in the York District. Some are open late and on weekends and no appointment is necessary. Text ‘pharmacy’ to 64746 to find your nearest pharmacy.
Monkgate Health Centre: Located at 31 Monkgate, and open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm. Offers a nurse-led service to treat minor injuries and illnesses. No appointment is necessary.
GP practice: You should make an appointment with your GP for more significant illness and long-term medical problems.