Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 11:25 UK

Doctor's diary: Swine flu advice

By Dr Tom Coffey


"Pick a flu buddy now"

Public health messages about swine flu are not getting through to everyone, says GP and hospital doctor, Dr Tom Coffey.

For the last seven days, there's been a big change in the number of patients who are contacting me about swine flu.

They are mainly men between the ages of 15 to 35; a group we very rarely see in General Practice.

I think the vast majority aren't anxious. English stoicism is working through. People are ringing up just to check but most believe, which is quite right at the moment, this is a viral illness, a simple illness, which will last five or six days, and goes away.

At the moment, we say please stay at home, I can assess you very easily over the phone. And if you're not too unwell and have got no underlying illness, it's stay at home, take fluids and paracetamol, and get a flu buddy - someone who if in the future you need them to collect your drugs, or collect your food, you can get them to do so.

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