NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2018.
A message urging people affected by the flu to think carefully before seeking further medical assistance, has been issued today by Public Health Wales.
It comes as a result of the recent rise in the number of people being affected by the virus.
Public Health Wales say that to ensure busy emergency services are able to save lives and help those most in need, it is important to remember the vast majority of healthy people with symptoms of flu don’t need to see their GP.
Flu is a viral infection for which antibiotics are not helpful – instead, the advice is to drink plenty of fluids, take ibuprofen or paracetamol and avoid contact with vulnerable individuals while they have symptoms, which usually resolve in about a week.
Dr Giri Shankar, Professional Lead Consultant for Health Protection at Public Health Wales, said: “People are reminded that while flu is circulating in Wales and looks set to increase over the coming weeks, the types of flu being seen are as expected and are not more dangerous than those seen in previous years.
“People in at-risk groups with flu-like symptoms, such as those over the age of 65, pregnant women or those with a pre-existing medical condition, should phone their GP surgery or NHS Direct Wales (0845 46 47) for advice as soon as the symptoms start as anti-viral medication may be recommended.
“However, they should not attend their surgery without calling first to help reduce the risk of spreading infection to others.”
Over the past week there has been an increase in the number of cases of flu at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board putting visiting restrictions in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Today the health board published a statement online, saying: “We would like to remind people to attend appointments at Wrexham Maelor Hospital as planned.
“However, if you are, or have been unwell with flu-like symptoms in the last seven days, please contact the clinic/department to see if your appointment is urgent, or if it can be rescheduled.”
Public Health Wales have also issued the following advice to help reduce the chances of flu spreading:
– Catch it: always cough or sneeze into a tissue
– Bin it: dispose of the tissue after use
– Kill it: then wash your hands or use hand sanitiser to kill any flu viruses
If you believe you may have flu symptoms then it is advised to stay home from work, school and other public places for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone to avoid infecting other people. Most people feel better within a week of becoming infected with the flu virus, although coughing may last for another one or two weeks.
People who are concerned that their symptoms are worsening should call their GP or NHS Direct Wales for advice and should not go to A&E unless advised to do so.
Flu vaccination is available every year to people in at-risk groups – including those aged 65 and over, people with certain long-term health conditions, pregnant women, frontline healthcare workers, carers and young children. Anyone who has missed out on vaccination this year should call their GP surgery for advice.
More information on flu is available at www.beatflu.org. Further advice is available from the NHS Direct Wales website or the helpline on 0845 46 47.