WEEKEND WEB: Look out for flu this New Year
DOCTOR CALLING: By chairman of South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group Kevin Hill
Patients across South Lincolnshire are being reminded what they can do to combat flu during the New Year.
Often flu can be treated without seeing your GP and you should begin to feel better in about a week.
Symptoms of flu can come on quickly and can include:
• A sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above;
• Aching body;
• Feeling tired or exhausted;
• A dry, chesty cough;
• A sore throat;
• Difficulty sleeping;
• Loss of appetite;
• Diarrhea or tummy pain;
• Nausea and being sick.
For children the symptoms are similar but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
There are some simple things you can do to help you feel better quickly. It is important to rest and sleep, making sure you keep warm.
Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Don’t forget your local pharmacy can give great advice on a wide range of topics, treatments and remedies.
Be careful when taking flu remedies if you are already taking paracetamol or ibuprofen as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose – your pharmacist will be able to advise you.
Similarly, if you have a long-term condition and contract a cold or flu, don’t forget to take your regular medication and speak to the pharmacist about any issues with taking other over the counter medicines as well.
You should see your GP if:
• Your symptoms don’t improve after seven days;
• You’re worried about your child’s symptoms;
• You’re 65 or over;
• You’re pregnant;
• You have a long-term medical condition, for example, diabetes or a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease;
• You have a weakened immune system, for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV.
Antibiotics are not recommended for flu because they won’t relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery. If you develop sudden chest pain, have difficulty breathing or start coughing up blood you should call 999 or go to A&E.
Flu is really infectious and spreads easily to other people, particularly during the first five days you have it, and is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes.
To reduce the risk of spreading flu, wash your hands often with warm water and soap, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, and bin used tissues as quickly as possible.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk