Media Release - 04/08/10
With Swine H1N1 Influenza now present in the Canterbury community, local doctors are urging people who think they may have the flu to call their General Practice 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,” Canterbury District Health Board Chief Medical Officer Nigel Millar 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 General Practice early is important if people think they have the flu as antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu or Relenza are most effective when taken within 48 hours of symptoms starting,” Dr Millar said.
Canterbury has so far had 43 identified cases of Swine H1N1 Flu and two people hospitalised with the virus.
“Numbers are comparatively small as yet in our region 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 Millar said.
Along with having a flu vaccination, the most important things people can do to help protect themselves and their families against influenza are:
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 also call their General Practice, the Canterbury flu line on 0800 37 30 37 or Healthline on 0800 611 116. As always, dial 111 in a medical emergency.