Tuesday, 25 September 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Doctor struck down by severe flu case

A HENLEY doctor was hospitalised after catching a severe strain of flu.

Michael Hillier, who works at the Hart Surgery, spent two days in hospital after developing pneumonia-like symptoms.

The potentially deadly strain, known as “Aussie” flu, has also affected a member of reception staff at the York Road surgery, who has been off work for two weeks.

Dr Hillier, a partner at the surgery, contracted the illness over the New Year holiday and was unable to return to work when the surgery re-opened on January 2.

Practice manager Sarah Moberly said: “It was bad for us as it came the day after the bank holiday, which is the busiest day of the year for us. There’s a build-up of patients over the Christmas period.

“We got in a locum GP so it wasn’t too bad but we apologise to patients who may have been affected.

“Dr Hillier’s on the mend and is hoping to be back at the end of the week.”

Ms Moberly has heard of other cases of more severe strain of flu.

She said: “I saw a GP from Nettlebed at a meeting who said she had it and felt ill for 18 days. It really wiped her out and she’d never been off work before. It hits hard.

“We don’t have confirmation that it is the strain but there are a few knocking around which are all nasty.”

The surgery has warned patients and urged them to get vaccinated if they haven’t been already.

Ms Moberly said that anyone with flu-like symptoms can treat themselves at home and should avoid busy places where they can pass on the infection to others. Anyone who was worried should call their GP for advice.

She said: “We can’t give out antibiotics for the flu so there’s no point coming to the surgeries, you will just infect other people. Rest, keep warm and drink plenty of water.

“The normal rules are you should phone your GP if you don’t improve after seven days but children, over-65s, pregnant women or people with long-term conditions have a much higher chance of developing complications and may want to ask their doctor earlier.

“If you get sudden chest pain, cough up blood or have difficulty breathing call 101.

“Control the infection by using tissues and washing your hands and surfaces.”

Aussie flu is an influenza A virus which causes more severe infections in young children and the elderly than other strains. Also known as H3N2, the strain was responsible for the 2017 flu outbreak in Australia, the worst the country had seen in a decade.

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