Flu advice given to Redbridge residents after rise in deaths

HEALTH chiefs are reiterating their advice to residents who think they may have flu-like symptoms, as the number of flu deaths nationally rises.

Figures published yesterday by the Health Protection Agency show 39 people have died of flu this winter.

All but one were under the age of 65 and four were under the age of five, the figures show.

The majority, 36, died of the H1N1 swine flu strain.

Less than five had been given a flu jab.

Now NHS Outer North East London – which encompasses Redbridge – is re-stating its flu advice.

It is calling on residents who think they have flu to stay at home.

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A spokesman said: “If you experience a sudden fever, cough or shortness of breath or have a headache, sore throat, tiredness, aching muscles, chills, sneezing, runny nose or loss of appetite, you may have flu.

“For most people this is a mild illness and you should start to feel better after a few days without needing to go to your GP, walk-in centre/polyclinic or A&E.

“Help yourself and others by not spreading the virus.

“The best thing you can do is stay at home, rest, drink plenty fluids and take over-the-counter flu remedies to help relieve symptoms.

“If you have not had your seasonal flu vaccine and are pregnant, very young, over 65, or have a long-term condition such as asthma or diabetes, then please contact your GP practice.”

The H1N1 flu strain – which has been most prevalent in the UK this winter – is more likely to infect young people.

More than half of those who have died this winter were classed at being in the clinical “at risk” group for vaccination.

More information on what to do if you have flu-like symptoms is available by visiting www.redbridge.nhs.uk.