Think Carefully Before Contacting Local NHS with Colds and Flu

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

NHS A senior doctor has urged people to think carefully before going to hospital or to their GP with coughs and colds.

Seasonal flu and colds are on the increase throughout the UK and we have, therefore, seen a big rise in the numbers attending hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers and also people 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 people who are seriously ill and need treatment may struggle to get through on the phone.

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.

Antibiotics are of no value for the flu and will not shorten the length of the illness. By attending GP surgeries and Accident and Emergency Departments patients risk passing illness to vulnerable people.

A spokesperson for one NHS area said that Accident and Emergency Department needs to treat very sick and injured patients: attendance of patients with minor flu-like symptoms may harmfully delay this treatment.

She said further: "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. This advice is also available on the NHS Choices website and by calling NHS Direct on 0845 46."

Symptoms of flu include:

* sudden fever (a temperature of 38°C/100.4°F or above)

* dry, chesty cough

* headache

* tiredness

* chills

* aching muscles

* limb or joint pain

* diarrhoea or stomach upset

* sore throat

* runny or blocked nose

* sneezing

* loss of appetite

* difficulty sleeping

The message repeated again and again by those medical people is that anyone who is an at risk group should take up the offer of a seasonal flu vaccine this year. But, you all know my take on that.

A senior doctor said that 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 their symptoms are not getting better such 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 they need to pick up medication, including anti-virals, they should ask a friend, a family member or a neighbor to pick them up for them.

I am beginning – in fact more than beginning – to wonder as to why this advice as to simply sit out the possible flu infection at home without going to their doctor is all about. Is it to hide the real numbers of the flu, as in influenza, cases and especially the fact that many if nor indeed most of those that have and are contracting the H1N1 flu, including and especially the H1N1 Swine flu, are, in fact, people who have been vaccinated against the flu?

If such information became public knowledge it really would not be very good for the pharmaceutical industry making such vaccines and for the government for advocating such vaccinations.

The most important thing is that people take preventive measure to begin with and this can be done, for starters, by making sure that their immune system is up to scratch by proper nutrition and all that.

Getting out into the fresh air and getting plenty of good outdoor exercise such as walking and cycling creates, in conjunction with the right food and drink, a good strong immune system and thus one that can fend off such viruses and if an infection does occur enables the body to defend the virus in no time.

I see sinister undertones in all the “don't go to your GP, etc.” advice but then it could just be me.

© 2011