Flu cases continue to rise – how pharmacy teams can help


Flu cases continue to rise – how pharmacy teams can help

January 12, 2018

Community pharmacy teams will have seen recent media reports that widespread increases in flu cases and respiratory illness are putting considerable strain on healthcare services across the country such as GPs, hospitals and NHS 111.

According to Public Health England (PHE), flu hospitalisations have increased by 50% in the last week. PHE has consequently launched a ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’ campaign to spread the message that the transfer of flu can be mitigated by a number of simple actions. The campaign includes radio, press and digital advertising to inform the public about the steps they can take to protect themselves and reduce spread of the virus by practising good respiratory hand hygiene.

To help reduce pressures on GPs, the Royal College of General Practitioners are appealing to patients to consider ‘3 before GP’ advice before making a GP appointment and ask themselves whether they can self-care, search for information via a reputable UK source, such as NHS Choices, or seek advice from a pharmacist.

Community pharmacy teams are also busy playing their part in helping patients and the NHS to cope with the challenges winter is bringing, but where possible, they can help by:

  • encouraging anyone who is eligible and not yet vaccinated to take up their offer of vaccination, explaining that it is not too late to get vaccinated;
  • making sure pharmacy team members have been offered a flu vaccination; and
  • promoting relevant PHE winter campaigns: ‘Stay well this Winter’, ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ and ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’.

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