A rise in the number of people diagnosed with flu by Brighton and Hove doctors has prompted health chiefs to issue advice to patients about how to take care of themselves.
About 60 people with flu are believed to have gone to their GP (general practitioner) in the week to last Thursday (14 February) – up from fewer than 40 the week before.
Others may have been seen by pharmacists or in hospital and are not counted in the statistics compiled by the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The CCG said: “GP consultation rates for suspected flu cases in Brighton and Hove have risen by almost three quarters in just a one week – from 13.3 per 100,000 to 21.3 – adding further pressure on local health services.
“As this winter’s flu season is now taking hold is the city, Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group is highlighting home treatment advice and urging people to get their flu jab after flu cases rose by almost 75 per cent in a week.
“Local doctors say flu can’t be treated with antibiotics. Flu is caused by viruses and antibiotics only work against bacteria.
“Those who get the flu will get better more quickly if they
- Get plenty of rest and sleep
- Make sure they keep warm
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
The CCG’s clinical chair David Supple said: “We are now seeing a steady rise in people visiting their GP with flu-like illnesses. However, self-care at home is better as antibiotics don’t work on flu.
“Flu can come on very quickly and be a very unpleasant illness, with symptoms including fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints and extreme tiredness which can often last several days.”
Dr Supple added: “The very best form of protection against flu – for those who have not yet got it – is to get the vaccine.
“It still isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine to protect yourself and vulnerable people around you.”
The CCG added: “To reduce the impact of flu on local NHS services, residents and visitors to the city are being asked to make sure they use the right service for their medical needs, freeing up emergency care for those most in need.
“The NHS Walk-in Centre at Brighton Station is open 8am to 8pm for treatment without appointments, NHS 111 is available all day every day and www.nhs.uk is available to check symptoms online around the clock.
“A pharmacist can also help with flu – offering treatment advice and recommending flu remedies – and give guidance on giving medicines to children.
“No appointment necessary to see a local pharmacist and most have private consultation areas and will say if you need further medical attention.”