NHS South West Essex is reminding people to make sure they know what to do if they think they have swine flu.
Symptoms of swine flu include fever, sore throat, diarrhoea, headache, feeling generally unwell and a dry cough – very similar to seasonal influenza.
If anyone suspects they have swine flu, they should stay at home and check their symptoms at www.nhs.uk or phone NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
If they are still concerned, they should phone their GP. Information on swine flu is also available from the recorded information line on 0800 1 513 513.
Barbara Stuttle, CBE, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS South West Essex, says: “Across the country, we are now expecting swine flu cases to rise rapidly but early control of this virus’ spread has allowed us to prepare for this phase.
“GPs are now providing clinical diagnosis of swine flu cases, rather than taking samples and waiting for laboratory test results. With cases increasing and people being concerned about their health, GPs are becoming busier and busier.
“GPs, including those working out of hours, are doing a fantastic job to deal with the increased pressure on the services they are offering.”
If you have symptoms it is important that you talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, very young (under five), over 65 or have long-term conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, as you may be more susceptible to the virus.
If you become seriously ill and need to go to A&E, ensure you tell A&E staff that you may have swine flu to avoid putting other people at risk.
People are still advised to follow good respiratory and hand hygiene. Always use a tissue to catch your sneezes, throw away used tissues where germs can linger and regularly wash your hands: Catch it, Kill it, Bin it.