Cases of influenza (flu) in Wales continue to fall this week, but remain at higher levels than seen during the last six flu seasons.
In the week ending 11 February 2018 the number of people diagnosed with influenza-like illness in general practices in Wales was 44.3 out of every 100,000 population, down from 53.0 per 100,000 the previous week.
Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme at Public Health Wales, said:
“Although the number of new cases of flu are falling, rates remain higher than during any flu season since 2010/11. Outbreaks are still being reported and it’s important to continue take steps to prevent spread where possible. ”
If you catch flu, help stop the virus spreading by staying away from other people if possible while you are ill, especially if they are very old, very young, pregnant or have a long term health condition. Follow the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it advice.
- Catch it: always use a tissue to cough or sneeze into
- Bin it: dispose of the tissue after use
- Kill it: then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to kill any flu viruses
Flu vaccine is still available, and those who are eligible for a flu vaccine should contact their GP surgery or community pharmacy as soon as possible. One group it is very important for is pregnant women, as when a pregnant woman is vaccinated it helps to reduce the risk of flu related complications to her and helps protect the baby too.
More people in Wales have had a flu vaccine this year than ever before, with over three quarters of a million in target groups vaccinated so far and 20,000 vaccinated in January alone.
Dr Roberts added:
“Most healthy people with flu can care for themselves at home. They should drink plenty of fluids, take paracetamol or ibuprofen, keep warm and rest. Symptoms usually resolve in about a week.
“While you are unwell avoid visiting hospitals or care homes to help reduce the chances of spreading flu in these settings.”
Advice on self-care is available on www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk or from community pharmacists or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 (or 111 in areas where the 111 Wales service is available).
“Most people do not need to contact their GP surgery if they think they might have flu, but people who are more vulnerable to complications should get early advice. Those who are aged 65 or over, have a long-term health condition, are pregnant or are worried about a young child should seek advice from their GP surgery, as should those whose symptoms are deteriorating or are not improving after a week.”
People should only attend A&E or call an ambulance if they need urgent care, for example feeling short of breath, chest pain or coughing up blood, or have other serious symptoms, or deteriorate quickly.