Family doctors in Northern Ireland today (Friday 17 July) moved to allay fears over the swine flu virus.
Larne GP Brian Dunn, Chairman of the BMAâ€™s GP committee said, â€œIt is understandable that people will be worried when they hear about the potential number of fatalities that may arise due to the pandemic. It should be remembered that these are worst case scenarios to enable government to plan.
â€œWe urge everyone to follow the recommended advice and telephone their doctor, rather than physically going to the surgery if they have symptoms and are concerned.
â€œIn most cases, it will be a mild illness and the vast majority of people will recover quickly by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, and drinking plenty of fluids. Anyone who is not recovering quickly or who is in a more vulnerable group, for example young children, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions, should get extra advice as a small number will need more intensive treatmentâ€.
Tom Black, a GP in Londonderry added,
“The message we need to get across is it’s a pandemic flu – this is new, we haven’t seen this before and yes, most of us will probably catch it.
â€œWe must remember that every year there are deaths from complications of seasonal flu; this is unfortunately inevitable with any strain of influenza, but following the recommended advice will minimise the risk.â€
Simple but effective hygiene measures such as frequent hand-washing can also help. Remember to cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, the put the tissue into a bin â€“ catch it, bin it, kill it!â€