The local NHS is urging people to get their flu jab now and highlighting treatment advice, after flu cases shot up by 85 per cent within the space of a week in England.
Health bosses warn this winter's influenza outbreak is now beginning to take hold and urging those eligible to get their flu jab now - GP consultation rate in the South East for flu like illnesses has risen from 10.3 per 100,000 to 14.2 in just one week, which is adding more pressure on local health services.
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can 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.
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
Katy Jackson, Director of Urgent Care and Systems Resilience for Central Sussex and East Surrey Commissioning Alliance-South, said: “The best form of protection against flu is to get the vaccine, and to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene. It isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine so make sure you take up the offer if you’re eligible, to protect yourself and vulnerable people around you.
“We are advising those who already have flu-like symptoms to rest, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol where needed.”
In order 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 over the holidays, 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 recommend 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.
Those who could get seriously ill if they get flu and possibly require avoidable hospital admission can claim a free flu jab, including:
- adults aged 65 and over
- adults aged 18 to 64 with a long term health condition
- children aged 2 to 3 at their GP practice
- school children in years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- pregnant women
- health and social care workers
People identified at risk of complications can receive the flu vaccine through their GP, and from their local high street pharmacist. The childhood vaccination programme has been expanded so children from age two up to Year 5 in primary school are offered a flu nasal spray, protecting children and anyone they come into contact with.