Medics advising Wirral flu sufferers to stay at homeWirral doctors are urging people to think carefully before going to hospital, urgent care centres or to their GP with coughs and colds.
Seasonal flu and colds are on the increase throughout the UK, and all of Merseyside including Wirral has seen a big rise in the numbers attending its emergency department or urgent care centres and calling GP out of hours with symptoms.
The number of calls to GP out-of-hours services from people who mainly have cold symptoms mean that those who are seriously ill and need treatment may struggle to get through on the phone.
Dr Teresa Owen, consultant in public health, said normally healthy adults should stay at home and combat their flu and cold symptoms with over-the-counter remedies from the pharmacist, rather than going to hospital or calling their GP.
By attending GP surgeries and A&E departments, patients risk passing illness to vulnerable people.
She said: "We always see a rise in flu and colds at this time of year.
"Flu and the common cold are viral illnesses and the first line of treatment is rest, paracetamol and fluids."
For the majority of normally health adults who catch the flu, it will be unpleasant and inconvenient, but they will begin to feel better within four to five days.
If symptoms are not getting better, patients should call their GP for further advice, but again they should not visit the surgery, as they risk passing on their infection to vulnerable people.
If you need to pick up medication, including anti-virals, ask a friend, family member or neighbour to pick them up for you.
Anyone who is in an at-risk group should take up the offer of a seasonal flu vaccine this year.
People with chronic lung, heart, liver, kidney or neurological problems, as well as those with weakened immune systems, can become seriously ill, as well as over-65s and pregnant women.
They should telephone their GP if they think they have flu-symptoms.
Symptoms of flu include a sudden fever (temperature of 38°C/100.4°F or above), dry, chesty cough, headache, chills, aching muscles, limb or joint pain, diarrhoea or stomach upset, sore throat, runny or blocked nose, sneezing, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping.
These people should make sure they have the flu vaccine to protect themselves.
If they have not yet had the jab, they should contact their GP to make an appointment as soon as possible.
Children aged under under-five with flu like symptoms should be assessed by a health care professional.
The NHS is also urging those with cold and flu symptoms not to visit relatives in hospitals or care homes, due to the risk that they will spread germs to vulnerable people.This advice is also available on the NHS Choices website and by calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. THE GLOBE