What to do if you feel you’ve got flu

Do you know the best place to get treatment if you have flu, or are suffering from common winter illnesses such as chest infections, coughs and colds, diarrhoea or vomiting?

In most cases, it won’t be A&E or even your GP – instead, the most effective care will usually come from yourself.

If you’re feeling unwell with a cough or a cold please think before visiting hospital, or your GP surgery, as you could risk passing on your cold to patients who are very sick and make them worse. Instead, stay home and take care of yourself - keep warm and have plenty of hot drinks

If you think you have the flu (or the norovirus ‘winter sickness’ bug), the best remedy is usually to rest at home in the warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary.

Stay off work or school until you're feeling better and to help stop spreading the illness. In most cases of flu, recovery takes about a week. With norovirus, you should wait until you have experienced no symptoms for 48 hours. Remember, you can get excellent advice on over-the-counter treatments from your pharmacist; if symptoms persist or are severe, however, you can call NHS 111 for advice on what the best healthcare option for you is – the line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And remember, for young children, the elderly or those with long-term-health conditions, flu can lead to serious health complications – if you worry you or a loved one may be experiencing these, call NHS 111 for advice or consult your GP.

For advice about flu, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu

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