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What to do if you've got the Flu or Norovirus

As the New Year passes and we get further into January, residents should be wary to not relax their efforts in preventing winter illness.

This time of year is when the likes of the Flu and winter vomiting bugs like the Norovirus are most rife, leaving those who catch them feeling particularly unwell.

Whilst the symptoms of the likes of Flu and Norovirus are nasty, they can usually be treated effectively with some medicine cabinet essentials and rest at home. You’re often better off minimising spread and treating symptoms in your own home rather than heading to your local GP surgery or A&E which are likely to be extremely busy at this time of year.

If you’re feeling like you really need medical advice because of your symptoms, the best thing to do is visit your local pharmacist or call NHS 111 – this will give you access to highly qualified medical professionals who can advise you on how to get the right treatment.

Here’s a handy guide to both the Flu and Norovirus:

Flu:

Symptoms

  • A sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
    aching body feeling tired or exhausted
  • Dry, chesty cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Nausea and being sick

How to feel better

  • Rest and sleep
  • Keep warm
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • Drink plenty of water

When to see your GP

  • If your symptoms don't improve after 7 days
  • You're worried about your child's symptoms
  • You're 65 or over
  • You're pregnant
  • You have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes or a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease
  • You have a weakened immune system – for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV

Norovirus:

Symptoms

  • Suddenly feeling sick
  • Projectile vomiting
  • Watery diarrhoea  

How to feel better

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains
  • Get plenty of rest
  • If you feel like eating, eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread
  • Use special rehydration drinks 

When to get advice (by calling your GP or NHS 111)

  • Your baby or child has passed 6 or more watery stools in the past 24 hours, or has vomited 3 times or more in the past 24 hours
  • Your baby or child is less responsive, feverish, or has pale or mottled skin
  • You or your child is showing signs of dehydration, such as persistent dizziness only passing small amounts of urine or no urine at all, or reduced consciousness – babies and elderly people have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated
  • You have bloody diarrhoea
  • Your symptoms haven't started to improve after a few day
  • You or your child have a serious underlying condition and have diarrhoea and vomiting

The best way to feel better is to prevent winter illnesses in the first place and this can be done by being vigilant and following this advice:

  • Wash your hands often with warm soapy water
  • Sanitise surfaces
  • Eat a healthy diet, try and get plenty of sleep and look after yourself
  • Try and avoid those suffering with an illness
  • Protect others by staying home
  • Protect others by covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough
  • Protect others by avoiding sharing towels, cups or clothing with others

Here's Dr Gareth Wallis, of Lytham Road Surgery, explaining what to do if you think you've got flu or norovirus this winter:

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