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
Gareth Howells, Deputy Director of Urgent Care and Systems Resilience for Central Sussex and East Surrey Commissioning Alliance-North, 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 Minor Injuries Unit Queen Victoria Hospital and Horsham Hospital are available for treatment without appointments; the Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital is also available 24 hours a day, 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. fffffffffffff
Local ambulance service seeks publics help this Easter
South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is seeking the public’s help ahead of what is expected to be a busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
The Trust has planned ahead for the expected increase in demand but is urging people to use the service wisely and to seek alternatives to 999 if not faced with a life-threatening or serious emergency.
Over the course of the Easter weekend in 2018, staff in SECAmb’s Emergency Operations Centres in Crawley and Coxheath answered in excess of 8,000 calls. Across the region the NHS 111 service also faced high demand handing some 25,000 calls in the four days.
During any period of high demand, SECAmb works hard to prioritise its response to patients with the greatest need. Anyone not facing a serious or life-threatening emergency is likely to wait longer for a response. Those not facing a serious emergency are urged to consider alternatives to 999 including calling NHS 111, visiting a walk-in centre or speaking to a pharmacist.
The Trust is also reminding people to order any repeat prescriptions and check opening hours of their GP surgeries and local pharmacies. Details of local services can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search
SECAmb Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said:
“We know that Easter is a busy time of year for us and the wider NHS. With schools off and a long Bank Holiday weekend we are anticipating an increase in demand.
“With this in mind we’re urging the public to remember to only dial 999 if it’s they’re facing a life-threatening or serious emergency. We will be working hard to reach all patients who need a face-to-face assessment as quickly as possible but prioritising our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.
“People can really help us by remembering to make use of alternatives to 999 including calling NHS 111, where staff will also be working hard to provide people with the assistance they need.
“As ever, and throughout this period, our staff will be working extremely hard to get our patients the help they need. I’d like to thank every member of staff and all our Community First Responder volunteers for their continued hard work and commitment.”