Flu is circulating in Wales 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 might have flu check your symptoms using the NHS Direct Wales symptom checker.
Most people with flu do not need to visit their GP and will usually recover from it in about a week. However, this is not always the case.
Dr Kelechi Nnoaham, director of public health for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: “Flu is a serious illness which can cause complications like bronchitis, pneumonia, meningitis and inflammation of the brain. If you think you have flu and are pregnant or have a long term health condition or are aged 65 or over, or if it is your child that is unwell, speak to your GP surgery as soon as possible as there is an increased risk of complications and they may prescribe antiviral medicines to help. You should also seek medical advice if your symptoms are getting worse or haven’t improved after a week.
“If you think you have flu please remember to rest, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol or ibuprofen and also avoid contact with vulnerable individuals while you have symptoms.”
It is important to reduce the risk of spreading flu. Hands can transfer germs to every surface you touch and germs spread easily and can live for hours on tissues so always:
- Catch it –Always cough or sneeze into a tissue
- Bin it – Dispose of the tissue as soon as possible.
- Kill it – 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.
Annual flu vaccine is the single best protection against catching or spreading flu. Free flu vaccine is still available from your local GP or community pharmacy for individuals in a risk group. Visit www.beatflu.org or www.curwchffliw.org to check if you are eligible.
Dr Nnoaham continues: “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 2019) 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.”