Media Release - 2/05/09
Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public Health division is continuing to emphasise the importance of anyone with flu-like symptoms who has been in North America or Mexico in the past week to telephone their General Practice or after hours service.
Chief Medical Officer Nigel Millar said it was important that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, or body aches and who had been recently travelling in these two countries sought immediate medical advice.
He said it was likely that anyone who had these symptoms but had not been travelling in these countries was likely to have seasonal influenza that should be treated in the normal manner unless their symptoms were severe or prolonged. If people are concerned they should contact their General Practice or Healthline on 0800 611 116.
To date, no one in the Canterbury region has tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1) previously known as swine flu.
This weekend, CDHB’s Community and Public Health division continues to assist overseas passengers arriving at Christchurch International Airport who identify themselves as being unwell.
Only people with a clear history of exposure to the Influenza A (H1N1) (swine flu)need anti-viral treatment Tamiflu. People who already have stocks of Tamiflu at home should not take it unless told to by a doctor as Influenza A (H1N1) is not currently circulating in our community. Taking Tamiflu now will not protect people against possible infection and may encourage resistance in the future.
It is important that Tamiflu is only prescribed to people who are significantly unwell with influenza to ensure there are good reserves for people who may need it in the coming months.
People who think they may have contracted Influenza A (H1N1) should telephone their General Practice for advice, rather than buying Tamiflu over the counter at a pharmacy.
Advice for anyone with seasonal influenza includes:
· Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Dry hands for another 20 seconds, preferably with paper towels.
· Blow your nose into a paper tissue and put in a bin immediately. Wash your hands after blowing your nose.
· Clean household surfaces, especially surfaces that are touched regularly, such as door handles, with household bleach (one part bleach to four parts water).
· Unwell people should not go to work or school.
Contact your General Practice if symptoms are severe or
For further information about protecting yourself or others from influenza and for information about how to prepare for an influenza pandemic, see www.fluinfo.org.nz.