Flu fears after Christmas break.
9:12am 4th January 2011
(Updated 9:29am 4th January 2011)
There are fears flu is going to grip Yorkshire as children go back to school.
Across the country one in twenty of those seriously ill with the virus is under five.
Now health experts want us to teach them to catch it, bin it, kill it.
Doctors warn figures could rise even further as we go back to work after the Christmas and New Year break.
With high levels of flu circulating in local communities, health professionals are asking people with cold or flu-like symptoms to use their common sense.
Most people with health problems such as cold or flu symptoms can treat themselves effectively with off-the-shelf medicines available from a local pharmacy, convenience store or supermarket.
Dr David Geddes, GP and medical director at NHS North Yorkshire and York, said:
"Using A&E or your out of hours GP with minor injuries or illnesses such as flu, colds, diarrhoea and vomiting puts additional pressure on the NHS, especially during bank holidays. 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 practice.
"For patients in the York area, we would also remind them that the York walk in centre on Monkgate is open over the New Year period."
Most minor symptoms like headaches, sore throats and stomach upsets can be treated at home with off-the-shelf medicines. Available from your local pharmacy, convenience store or supermarket.
Call 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
There are 42 pharmacies in the York District providing expert advice and treatment for minor symptoms and conditions. Some are open late and on weekends and no appointment is necessary. Text 'pharmacy' to 64746 to find your nearest pharmacy.
Monkgate Health centre - open during New Year
Located at 31 Monkgate, YO31 7WA and open 7 days a week from 8am to 6pm. Offers a nurse-led service to treat minor injuries and illnesses. No appointment is necessary.
You should make an appointment with your GP for more significant illness and long-term medical problems. All GPs can now treat patients for minor injuries on a drop-in basis. If in doubt, give them a call.
If you become unwell out of GP opening hours and you cannot wait until the next day to see your GP, you should call your GP practice to be connected to the out of hours service.
A&E and 999
For serious injuries and symptoms that need immediate attention. A&E is a busy and costly service and therefore should not be used to access treatment or advice that could have been accessed at one of the other services listed above.
Symptoms of flu
Seasonal flu can give you any of these symptoms:
- sudden fever (a temperature of 38°C/100.4°F or above),
- dry, chesty cough,
- aching muscles,
- limb or joint pain,
- diarrhoea or stomach upset,
- sore throat,
- runny or blocked nose,
- loss of appetite, and
- difficulty sleeping.
Choose Well campaign
When it comes to getting the right treatment, knowing your options can really help to ensure that you are seen by the right person in the shortest time possible.
Visiting A&E can be the first action that springs to mind, but depending on the severity of your condition, it may be more appropriate to seek advice or treatment from an alternative source.
'Choosing well' ensures you are seen as quickly as possible. It also ensures that emergency services are left for people with the greatest need.
More information about Choosing Well in North Yorkshire and York can be found on our website at www.nyypct.nhs.uk
Cut Your Risk of Flu
- Don't hot desk - Do not share pens, keyboards etc when you get back to work. Carry hand gel with you or make sure you are washing your hands regularly
- Take care of yourself - People who exercise are less likely to get sick. Make sure you are getting a balanced diet with enough Vitamin C to boost your immune system. Ensure you are drinking enough fluids and getting enough rest
- Try to stop the virus getting into your body - Move away from people who are coughing and spluttering. Droplets from a sneeze can travel the length of a double-decker bus. Do not touch your face or rub your eyes.
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