Health officials are advising sick Cantabrians to stay home, amid fears flu cases could escalate as kids go back to school on Monday.
Christchurch Hospital has seen an influx of flu patients over the last fortnight and were treating 40 patients with confirmed influenza or symptoms. Five of those patients were in a critical condition on ventilators in the Intensive Care Unit.
Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says if people are unwell and do not require hospital care they need to stay home and not spread their illness amongst colleagues or school mates.
"Call your usual General Practice team number if you need medical assistance. Even afterhours, a registered nurse will answer your call.
"Nurses will reassure or advise on care at home if that's appropriate and if your need is greater, they'll direct you to the nearest after-hours medical service, or the emergency department if that's where you should be."
Each time a patient uses the afterhours nurse service, their GP would receive a summary report the following day, which helps with continuity of care, he said.
"Calling your GP is a fast and effective way of getting health care. It's also part of making sure people get the right care, in the right place at the right time. Saving patients' time is good for everyone," Humphrey said.
The flu vaccine was still available for free up to July 31 for those under 18s, over 65s, pregnant women and anyone with a chronic illness.
- The Press
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