Public health officials have declared that flu is now circulating, and has told GPs they should start prescribing antivirals to patients with flu-like symptoms.
A statement issued by the Department of Health said that GPs and pharmacists should prescribe antivirals to patients ‘whether or not they are in a clinical risk group’.
GPs are also expected to encourage ‘at risk’ patients as well as young children to get the flu vaccine in order to ‘ensure the maximum protection through vaccination’.
The move comes after a spate of flu cases and an increase in young adults being hospitalised led PHE to confirm influenza was circulating within the community, despite the fact that uptake for flu vaccination had shown an increase.
Dr Richard Peabody, a flu expert for PHE, said: ’It’s not too late for children and people in “at risk” groups to get the vaccine for free, and this remains important now that flu is circulating.
’Anyone in these groups who hasn’t yet had the vaccine should contact their GP, pharmacist or midwife, as they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, and sadly many end up in hospital.’