NHS call for vigilance as flu cases spread throughout Wigan

The NHS is warning people to be on the lookout for symptoms of the potentially deady "Aussie" flu following a rise in cases in the borough.

Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 8:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 3:25 pm
Wigan is in the middle of the range on the Flusurvey heatmap

The flu heatmap shows the amount of influenza like illness (ILI) reported around the UK right now, showing a gradient from no reported ILI (blue) to very high ILI (red). Wigan is somewhere in the middle.

The heatmap is updated every three hours.

Medical professionals are calling on people to spot the signs and treat them at home as soon as possible to prevent it spreading any further.

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Flu viruses fall into one of three categories - A, B and C - and symptoms include: a temperature of 38°C or above; an aching body; a sore throat; headaches; and a loss of appetite.

The "Aussie" variety also goes by the name of H3N2 and is just one of several strains of flu circulating the country this winter. It is a type A virus, the most severe of the three, and seems to most seriously affect young children and the elderly.

It was given its nickname after recently becoming Australia's biggest outbreak of flu in nearly a decade.

Professor Kate Ardern, director for public health said: “As part of the Deal for Health and Wellness, we’re committed to ensuring residents live healthy lives and are aware of the support available to them.

“It is so important that all people in the borough who are vulnerable to the effects of flu take up the vaccine over winter.

“Flu can be a very unpleasant illness and for vulnerable people it can be dangerous. The vaccine reduces the chance of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk.

“We have seen a mixture of the A and B strains of the flu virus across Wigan Borough. This is in line with the time of year and the rest of Greater Manchester.

“We urge anybody with flu like symptoms to rest, drink plenty of fluids and stay away from care settings or work for 48 hours.”

Hospital admissions and GP visits due to flu are also rising across the country, said Claire Roach, of Public Health England. "People suffering with flu-like symptoms should catch coughs or sneezes in tissues and bin them immediately, wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water and frequently clean regularly used surfaces to stop the spread of flu.

Avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu,” she added.