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Flu cases still on the increase as 16 more test positive in Northern Ireland

By Lisa Smyth

There have been 16 fresh cases of swine flu diagnosed in Northern Ireland, latest figures from the Department of Health have revealed.

This brings the total number of laboratory confirmed cases in Northern Ireland to 83. There have been no deaths in Northern Ireland related to swine flu.

GP consultations for flu and flu-like illnesses have shown a further slight increase, while out-of-hours calls for flu and flu-like illness have also increased again.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Elizabeth Mitchell said the number of contacts made to GPs during the period for flu-like illness remains significantly higher compared to this time in previous years but that primary care services are continuing to cope well despite the increased demand.

She reiterated advice to people concerned they may have swine flu, asking them not to go to their GP but to speak to them on the telephone and follow the same steps they would if they had flu.

“If you think you have swine flu stay at home, please do not visit your GP practice, pharmacy or A&E in person,” she said.

“For otherwise fit and healthy people, there is usually no need to take antivirals. Most people will recover at home by taking simple measures to alleviate symptoms such as resting, taking paracetamol and drinking plenty of fluids.

“If, however, your condition suddenly deteriorates or is getting worse after seven days then you should contact your GP or out-of-hours service.

“People with underlying health conditions, like diabetes or chronic lung disease, who are at higher risk of complications if they develop influenza should call their GP for advice and assessment for antivirals.

“In addition, pregnant women who develop flu-like symptoms should phone their GP. Likewise, parents of children under five years should call their doctor if their child develops flu-like symptoms.

“Simple but effective hygiene measures such as frequent hand-washing can also help. Remember to cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then put the tissue into a bin.”

Belfast Telegraph


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