HALTON Hospital in Runcorn – one of the main general hospitals serving the Frodsham and Helsby area – has reported a “rapid increase” in the number of people attending its minor injuries unit concerned about swine flu.
“While most people are being very sensible, we have seen a rapid increase in the number of people wanting to be checked out, despite clear national advice that this is entirely the wrong thing to do,” said Simon Wright, director of operations at Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Trust.
“The majority of flu cases, whether swine flu or more common viruses, are best treated by staying at home, self-medicating and following the national advice about checking symptoms and calling the National Pandemic Flu Service for advice, which can arrange for anti-viral medication if needed.”
The service, which launched last week, has a dedicated website (www. direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu) and telephone line (0800 1 513 100) for people to check their symptoms.
If necessary, they will be given a unique access number for anti-virals and told where their nearest collection point is.
They should then ask a flu friend – a friend or relative who doesn’t have swine flu – to pick up the drug.
Mr Wright added: “Halton Hospital is prepared to deal with any more serious cases or complications caused by swine flu as the pandemic continues.
“We have seen some people come in with serious problems like severe respiratory conditions who might also be displaying swine flu symptoms, and plans for these cases are in place and constantly reviewed.
“The important message at the moment is that if you suspect you gave swine flu do not come to the hospital, and it’s vital people remember that the vast majority of cases so far in this country have been mild.”
Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of ordinary flu and include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, runny nose, aching muscles and joints.