Flu advice issued by NHS East Sussex

THE NHS in East Sussex issued advice to people suffering from flu this week.

Experts explained there was a lot patients could do, sometimes with NHS help and support, to look after themselves and aid recovery.

Director of Nursing for NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings and Rother Lisa Compton said: “People who feel ill but who are otherwise fit and healthy usually make a full recovery if they rest at home, drink lots of fluids and use medicines such as paracetamol to lower temperature.

“Local pharmacists can offer expert advice on the best remedies to take.

“If you have flu you should consult your GP if you are pregnant or have a medical condition which means you are at higher risk of complications, or if your symptoms are getting worse or have lasted for more than a week.”

Following these steps can help during the winter months as seasonal illnesses increase:

· Good hygiene will help to stop viruses from spreading – always sneeze into a tissue and then put it quickly in the bin, and wash your hands and work surfaces regularly.

· Have an up to date medicine kit at home. Your pharmacist can advise on what medicines it should contain. A list of East Sussex pharmacies open over New Year can be seen on the NHS in East Sussex website, www.eastsussex.nhs.uk/your-services/

· It’s not too late to have a seasonal flu vaccination if you are in a group at higher risk of complications from the illness – these include pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, children and adults with certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart problems and diabetes and main carers for older or disabled people.

Contact your GP surgery and ask for your flu jab which will provide protection against swine flu and two other flu strains.

· If you have a fever, high temperature and aching muscles, you might have flu.

Most people will recover fully if they manage their symptoms at home but speak to your GP if you are pregnant or you have a medical condition which means you are at higher risk of complications, or if your symptoms have lasted for more than a week or are getting worse. Visit www.nhs.uk for more information.

· If you have the norovirus, sometimes called ‘the winter vomiting bug’, you will not usually need to see a doctor unless your symptoms worsen or you have an underlying condition that puts you at higher risk of complications.

Rest at home, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol to relieve any symptoms of fever. More information is available at www.nhs.uk

· Choose well – if you need support from the NHS there is a range of services available to help you get the health care or advice you need.

Options include talking to a pharmacist about minor ailments, seeking advice from your GP or practice nurse, visiting the local NHS walk-in centre for treatment (Eastbourne Station Health Centre and Hastings Walk In Centre are both open 8 am – 8 pm every day), or calling NHS Direct on 0845 4647.