Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midland is urging people to help the region ‘stay well this winter’ by preventing the spread of flu across the region.
Dr Helen Carter, Deputy Director at Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, said: “Our data shows that more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms and we are seeing more people admitted to hospitals with the flu. We are currently seeing a mix of flu types, including the A(H3N2) strain that circulated last winter in the UK and then in Australia. The vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu and it isn’t too late for people to go to their GP or pharmacist and get vaccinated – especially those in risk groups including those aged 65 and over, pregnant women or those with a long-term medical condition.
“Symptoms of flu include sudden onset of fever, cough as well as sore throat, aching muscles and joints. The best advice is to rest, keep warm and drink plenty of water. We also recommend people take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary.
“People suffering with flu-like symptoms should catch coughs or sneezes in tissues and bin them immediately, wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water and frequently clean regularly used surfaces to stop the spread of flu. It is also important to avoid unnecessary contact with other people if you have symptoms of flu, and that includes not going into your GP surgery or the local A&E department.
“Anyone concerned about their symptoms should stay at home and contact their GP or call NHS 111 to seek further advice. For most healthy people, recovering from flu can take roughly a week. However, for those that are more vulnerable, it can be more severe and it is important to be aware of this.”
PHE publishes a Weekly National Influenza Report, detailing a number of indicators. This can be found on the GOV.UK website.