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TV GP tells swine flu patients: ‘stay at home and take paracetamol’

By Steve Nowottny

Patients who believe they may have ‘swine flu should stay at home and take paracetamol' and call their GP only if they need further advice, a London GP and Health Protection Agency board member said today.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Dr Rosemary Leonard, a GP in Dulwich, south London, sought to reassure the public, describing the current swine flu virus as ‘an incredibly minor illness'.

And despite the new HPA's new London algorithm instructing GPs to treat all symptomatic patients in the capital with a course of antivirals, Dr Leonard said that in many cases, patients should simply stay at home.

‘All you need to do is stay at home, take paracetamol,' she said. ‘If you need some advice, call your GP, but do not go to an A&E department.'

‘This isn't the plague,' she added. ‘In fact we now in our practice have a saying that if someone comes in and they're really, really ill we say well they're just too ill to have swine flu.'

However Dr Leonard say the Health Protection Agency was concerned about patients who had fully recovered from swine flu being ‘ostracised' because of their previous infection.

‘This has been happening very unfortunately since the beginning off the outbreak a few weeks ago. And all doctors who have seen cases of swine flu are just appalled by it.

‘Please, everybody else who is listening. If you know someone who has swine flu, once they are better, once the symptoms are gone, it takes a few days - they are not infectious anymore.'

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