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Flu sufferers reminded to self-treat symptoms at home - using pharmacy-bought remedies

People in the Vale of York are being reminded not to visit hospitals or their GP if they have flu - and instead treat symptoms at home using remedies from their pharmacy.

Flu symptoms can develop quite suddenly and severely, and usually include:

  • a sudden fever (a temperature of 38C or above)
  • headaches
  • aching muscles
  • a dry, chesty cough
  • sore throat
  • feeling tired and weak 

But while symptoms of flu can be severe and you might not start to feel better for a week, there’s normally no need to visit your GP for treatment as it’s a self-limiting illness, which means it will eventually go away on its own.

The NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has made a short film explaining how to look after yourself at home if you have flu. It can be watched here: https://youtu.be/rb0BVWHa7AU

Dr Andrew Phillips, a local GP and the CCG’s joint medical director, said: “There’s normally no need to see your GP if you have flu. The best place for you to be is at home, getting plenty of rest.

“Save yourself a visit to see your GP because in most cases they will simply recommend that you rest at home, keep warm, take the recommended amount of paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches and pains, and drink plenty of water.

“Visit your local pharmacist who can offer advice on treatment and recommend remedies. Pharmacists offer many of the same services that local GPs do, but you don't need to make an appointment to see them and they are often open during evenings and weekends.”

You should call NHS 111 or see your GP if you’re worried about your baby or child’s symptoms, are aged 65 or over, are pregnant, have a long-term health condition or weakened immune symptom, or if your symptoms haven’t improved after seven days.

Also, you should seek medical advice if your symptoms become more severe or change to the point that you feel that you have an illness that isn’t flu.

People should also avoid visiting friends and family members in hospital if they have flu because it’s very contagious and easily spread to other people. They should stay away until they have been clear of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

The flu vaccine remains the best protection against flu and is free for pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, young children and those with long-term health conditions. It’s not too late to have your flu vaccine this winter – speak to your GP, midwife or nearest participating pharmacy for more information.

Dr Phillips added: “While you might not want to miss out on seeing loved ones who are staying at hospital, you could pass flu on to them, other patients and to hospital staff. Flu can close wards, which limits the amount of people who can receive treatment at any given time.

“If you are eligible for a free flu jab and haven’t already had it, you should speak to your GP, midwife or nearest participating pharmacist about having the vaccine as soon as possible."

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