Swine flu campaign launched in Wales

A major press and radio campaign has been launched to remind people of the symptoms of swine flu and what they should do if they have them.

The campaign will complement the leaflet that was sent to all households across Wales earlier this year and the work of health professionals in keeping people up to date on the latest situation through the media.

The adverts point to where to get more advice on how to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading swine flu through good hand and respiratory hygiene. This will help to reduce spread in the longer term.

The campaign also comes as tourist season in Wales is in full swing and while visitors will be welcomed from the UK and abroad, it is important to get the message across of where they can get help if they feel ill.

Latest figures show that the number of people contacting their GP with flu-like symptoms has fallen. It is normal for there to be fluctuations but it is predicted that the rate will increase again with further waves of the virus over the next year.

Wales, along with Scotland and Northern Ireland, have decided not to join the interim National Pandemic Flu Service that was launched in England recently to cope with the increase in pressure on health services there.

Dr Jane Wilkinson, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said:

“We believe that people prefer to deal with the services that they know and are comfortable with. For this reason, we are strengthening existing services in the same way as Scotland did to manage the increase they have already seen, such as training more call handlers for NHS Direct Wales.

“However, because the number of cases has dropped, it is important to ensure people do not become complacent and continue to be vigilant in an effort to reduce the spread of swine flu.

“The NHS has managed extremely well so far in Wales and we have robust plans in place to manage to situation should the number of cases increase again. The campaign highlights that if we all play our part, we will be able to manage swine flu without causing undue pressure on the NHS.”

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