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26th January 2019

Flu is circulating in Cardiff and the Vale says local health board

BY: Nathan Spackman

Flu is now circulating in Cardiff and the Vale and people are being urged to do what they can to limit the spread of this potentially fatal disease. This includes remembering to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ if they have symptoms of flu.

The symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. If you think you have flu check your symptoms using the NHS Direct Wales symptom checker.

If you think you have flu the advice is to drink plenty of fluids, take paracetamol or ibuprofen, and avoid contact with vulnerable individuals while you have symptoms.

Most people do not need to visit their GP and will usually recover from flu in about a week. However, this is not always the case.

Fiona Kinghorn, Interim Executive Director of Public Health for Cardiff and Vale UHB, said: “Flu is a serious illness which can cause complications like bronchitis, pneumonia, meningitis and inflammation of the brain. Complications are most likely to occur in very young babies, pregnant women, older people and those with long-term health conditions. For these individuals it is important to seek prompt advice from their GP surgery or community pharmacy.

“For most people the best thing you can do if you have flu is rest at home, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol or ibuprofen.

“It is important to reduce the risk of spreading flu so always:

  • Catch it – Germs spread easily. Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.
  • Bin it – Germs can live for hours on tissues. Dispose of your tissue as soon as possible.
  • Kill it – Hands can transfer germs to every surface you touch. Clean your hands as soon as you can.

 

“Also make sure you clean hard surfaces regularly and avoid contact with others, especially if they are in a high risk group.

“If you think you have flu and are pregnant, have a long term health condition, are aged 65 or over, or if your child is unwell, speak to your GP surgery as there is an increased risk of complications and they may prescribe antiviral medicines to help reduce the duration of the illness. You should also seek medical advice if your symptoms are getting worse or haven’t improved after a week.

“Annual flu vaccine is the single best protection against catching or spreading flu. Last flu season (2017/18), 71% of people over 65 and 49% of people under 65 in at-risk groups in Cardiff and Vale took up the vaccine and in most areas, flu vaccines are still available, and can still offer some protection, so don’t miss out.

“If you’re under 65 and have a chronic health condition like asthma or diabetes or a weakened immune system, we recommend you receive the vaccine as soon as you can; there is still time to protect yourself. The average age of flu cases we’re currently seeing in hospitals is 45 years old therefore working-age people are also susceptible to flu. ”

Dr Graham Shortland, Executive Medical Director and Paediatric Consultant at Cardiff and Vale UHB said, “If you are looking after a child who is unwell and you think it might be flu it is important you speak to your GP surgery or local pharmacy for advice as flu can be serious for children. They may also need help to follow the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ advice, as this will help reduce the chances of flu spreading.

“Children are very good at spreading viruses between themselves and their family or friends due to close proximity and generally poorer hygiene such as hand washing and not using a tissue when sneezing.

“The nasal spray vaccine for children aged two and three (age on 31 August 2018) is still available. It is quick, painless and doesn’t involve needles. It is the best way to protect your child from catching flu and reducing the spread to family and friends. Contact your GP surgery if your child has not had their nasal spray yet this winter.”

For more information on the annual Beat Flu campaign visit: www.beatflu.org or www.curwchffliw.org

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