Flu-like illness in the COVID-19 era.

Flu is currently circulating at high levels and are likely to continue to increase in coming weeks. Flu is an acute breathing problem caused by some influenza viruses that comes in annual outbreaks in winter months. You get infected when you come in contact or breaths in droplets or secretions.

Last two years has seen the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on flu infection due to social distancing and mask wearing, as result natural immunity to flu may well be low.

A doctor won’t differentiate between flu and other influenza like illnesses as the symptoms overlap. They generally cause high temperature >37.8C and any of the following: cough, hoarseness, nasal congestion discharge, wheezing, sneezing, sore throat, diarrhoea or vomiting, joint pains or red eye.

For most people, flu symptom resolves on its own with paracetamol, rest and fluids are all that is needed. Those at risk gets annual flu vaccination. Some people with severe symptoms may require antiviral medication or more seriously hospital admission so if you are feeling very unwell please discuss with your doctor.

Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

  • If your child is unwell and has a fever, they should stay home from school or nursery until they feel better, and the fever has resolved.
  • Helping children to practice regular handwashing at home with soap and warm water.
  • Adults should also try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wear a face covering.
  • Remember that flu vaccination is still available for all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus.

Every year the flu vaccine changes dependent on what’s most likely strain circulation from previous season. Vaccination should be taken annually due to changing strain but protection often last for more than one season. This is best given between September and March but recommended to be taken as early as possible.

At Consultdoc, our doctors can prescribe you antiviral flu medication if you are an at-risk group patient, your symptom started within the last 2 days and the national surveillance indicates that influenza is circulating. Book an appointment today.

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