Saturday, 11 July 2009


Swine flu update
The majority of people who think they have swine flu will be able to treat themselves at home. And they can take sensible precautions to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

That is the message from NHS Northamptonshire in the wake of today's government announcement about moving to the 'treatment' phase of dealing with swine flu. Basically, this phase is about treating people who have the flu and looking after 'high risk' groups.

'High risk' in this case is defined as those over 65, children under five, people with chronic respiratory or heart problems, and pregnant women.

People who have been in close contact with those who have developed symptoms or had the flu will no longer be swabbed.

Since swine flu came to this country in April, the total number confirmed in the East Midlands area, which includes Northamptonshire, is 136, compared to an England total of 5,704. All of the East Midlands cases have been treated successfully at home.

David Spence, Consultant in Public Health for Northamptonshire NHS, said: "In the vast majority of cases people can treat themselves at home as they would with seasonal flu by getting plenty of rest, taking normal flu medicines, like paracetamol, to keep their temperature down, and drinking plenty of fluids.

"If they take advantage of advice on phone lines and websites that may be all the help they need.

"However, if they are still concerned they should phone NHS Direct or their local GP. What they should not do is visit their GP because they risk spreading the virus to others.

"Their GP will give a telephone diagnosis. If anti virals are indicated, people should ask a 'flu friend' to collect them from a designated pharmacy. A 'flu friend' is someone who is not showing symptoms of the virus and who is able to help the sufferer through collecting medicines and delivering them to the patient's home.

"Our main advice is for people to act responsibly and sensibly to avoid the spread of the virus as much as possible."

Advice is currently available at or on the Swine Flu information line on 0800 1 513 513. Advice on avoiding spreading the virus is catch it, bin it, kill it. This means that those with flu symptoms should use fresh tissues when they sneeze, throw used tissues away immediately then thoroughly wash their hands.

Note to editors: Localised county or town figures are not available.

Source of information

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