150% rise in flu cases prompts NHS warning

The local NHS is warning that this winter’s flu season is now taking hold locally, with GP consultation rate in the city for flu like illnesses rising by almost 150 per cent -  from 9.9 per 100,000 to 24.5 in just a fortnight - and is adding more pressure on local health services.

NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to get their flu jab and highlighting home treatment advice, after flu cases rose by more than 147.5 per cent within in Brighton and Hove.

Katy Jackson, Director of Urgent Care and Systems Resilience for the CCG, said:  Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can be a very unpleasant illness with symptoms including fever, stuffy nose dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints and extreme tiredness, which can often last several days.

"We are now seeing a steady rise in people visiting their GP with flu like illnesses, however self care at home is better as anti-biotics don't work on flu. The very best form of protection against flu for those who have not yet got it is to get the vaccine - it still isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine, to protect yourself and vulnerable people around you." FInd out more about how and why to get the vaccine online.

Local doctors say flu can't be treated with antibiotics - flu is caused by viruses and antibiotics only work against bacteria. Those who get the flu will get better more quickly if they:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Make sure they keep warm
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

In order to reduce the impact of flu on local NHS services, residents and visitors to the city are being asked to make sure they use the right service for their medical needs, freeing up emergency care for those most in need.

The NHS Walk In Centre at Brighton Station is open 8am to 8pm for  treatment without appointments, NHS 111 is available all day every day and www.nhs.uk is available to check symptoms online around the clock.

A pharmacist can also help with flu, offering treatment advice and recommend flu remedies, and give guidance on giving medicines to children. No appointment necessary to see a local pharmacist and most have private consultation areas, and will say if you need further medical attention.

The rate of patients presenting Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) at the city’s GPs rose from 9.9 per 100,000 to 24.5 in the two weeks up until 24 January 2019, that is 147.5%.