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Swine flu—advice for patients and the public

29 July 2009

Patients are being asked to follow official NHS advice if they experience the symptoms of possible swine flu.

What should you do if you have the symptoms of swine flu?

Patients are being asked to follow official NHS advice if they experience the symptoms of possible swine flu.

If you experience a sudden fever, cough or shortness of breath or have a headache, sore throat, tiredness, aching muscles, chills, sneezing, runny nose or loss of appetite you may have swine flu.

The National Pandemic Flu Service is now live.  If you have swine flu symptoms can now visit the dedicated website or call 0800 1 513 100 (the phone line is open from 8am–12 midnight).

If you are assessed as requiring treatment, you will be issued with a unique access number which gives you access to antiviral medication if necessary. You will be informed where your nearest Antiviral Collection Point is located and you should then ask a ‘flu friend’ (a friend, relative, or neighbour who does not have flu) to collect the antivirals on your behalf.

Your ‘flu friend’ must show their own form of ID as well as yours.  The authorisation number and ID information will be checked to ensure it matches the information provided during your assessment.

You should contact your GP rather than the National Pandemic Flu Service if you have flu like symptoms AND:

  • You have a serious underlying illness
  • You are pregnant
  • You have a sick child under one year old
  • Your condition suddenly gets much worse
  • Your condition is still getting worse after 7 days (5 days for a child)

Please DO NOT go to A&E unless you are seriously ill.

How can you help reduce the risk of swine flu?

You can help us by following Health Protection Agency guidance on general infection control practices and good respiratory hand hygiene which can help to reduce the transmission of all viruses, including swine flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible
  • Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully
  • Maintain good basic hygiene by, for example, washing your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Clean hard surfaces (eg door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product

How are we treating swine flu patients at Chelsea and Westminster?

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is following a clinical protocol—A&E staff use the protocol when triaging any patients with flu-like symptoms as a precaution and staff in key ward areas are prepared to respond as and when required.

All patients coming to the A&E Department at Chelsea and Westminster with symptoms that require them to be assessed and treated in line with the protocol are being looked after in a segregated area of the hospital.

This ensures that these patients, both adults and patients, receive the most effective and efficient care in a designated area.