Flu Continues To Circulate In England, Wales
Surveillance from the Royal College of General Practitioners for week 52 of 2008 (December 22 to December 28 2008) reports an incidence rate for flu-like illness of 41 per 100,000 population, down from 68.5 per 100,000 in week 51. However, owing to the two bank holidays over the Christmas period the results for this week need to be interpreted with caution. In addition, over the flu season rates will fluctuate each week.
As in previous weeks the Agency's advice is to be alert to symptoms of flu.
* Anyone over the age of 65, or under 65 who falls into an "at risk" group, should ensure they receive their flu vaccination.
* Health care workers involved in the delivery of care and/or support to patients should see their occupational health department for their flu jab. Care workers should speak to their GP to establish if they meet the criteria for flu vaccination.
* If you do get flu this year, our advice is to stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies if they make you feel more comfortable.
Professor Nick Phin, a flu expert at the Health Protection Agency said: "Flu is still circulating in the population and our advice is for anyone who thinks they have flu is to rest, take plenty of fluids and to self-medicate to ease their symptoms.
"For most people flu is an unpleasant experience but they will recover. Some people, such as the elderly, are more at risk and flu can lead to complications such as pneumonia and that is why we would encourage everyone in this group to get their free flu jab at their GP surgery. The current vaccine is well matched to the circulating flu strains and should offer good protection."
Professor Nick Phin added: "We can all do our bit to stop flu spreading by having good hand and respiratory hygiene. When sneezing and coughing it is important to use tissues to cover the mouth and nose and then to dispose of these correctly - Catch it, bin it, kill it. Washing the hands with soap and water will also destroy the virus and help to stop it spreading."