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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

August 5, 2010

Call your local Medical Centre early if you have the flu - West Coast doctors

Although Swine H1N1 Influenza is not yet present in West Coast communities, local doctors are urging people who think they may have the flu to call their general practice or rural nurse clinic promptly, so that antiviral medicines can be prescribed if necessary.

"Calling early is especially important if the person is at greater risk of complications from influenza," West Coast Medical Officer of Health Dr Cheryl Brunton said.

People at higher risk of complications include pregnant women in any trimester, children under five, people with long term medical conditions, those who are very overweight and anyone aged over 65 years.  Free vaccination against Swine H1N1 Influenza and the other two strains of seasonal influenza is also still available for these people but takes two weeks before it is fully effective.

"Calling their GP or nurse early is important if people think they have the flu as antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu are most effective when taken within 48 hours of symptoms starting," Dr Brunton said.

The West Coast has not yet had any identified cases of Swine H1N1 Flu though the amount of reported influenza-like illness is increasing and cases of Swine H1N1 Flu are occurring elsewhere in the South Island.

"Numbers are comparatively small as yet in the South Island and hopefully will remain that way, but people need to know what to do if they become sick and what they can do to protect themselves and their families," Dr Brunton said.

Along with having a flu vaccination, the most important things people can do to help protect themselves and their families against influenza are:

  • Washing and drying hands thoroughly (20 seconds washing and 20 seconds drying) before eating, after using the toilet and after being with someone who is unwell.
  • Staying away from school or work if they are unwell.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.

Symptoms of the influenza virus can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Anyone who is worried about their flu symptoms should call their general practice, rural nurse clinic, or Healthline on 0800 611 116. As always, dial 111 in a medical emergency.

 

For more information please contact

Bryan Jamieson
Community Liaison Officer
West Coast DHB
PO Box 387
Greymouth 7840
Phone (DDI): (03) 769-7665
Mobile: 027 245-9595
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