Doctor stats revealed: Flu continues to affect Devon
PUBLISHED: 10:19 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:19 26 March 2019
Flu, vomiting, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis levels all dropped in Devon last week.
Despite that, flu remained at a level above the averages for England.
Weekly data from Public Health England shows that GPs in Devon reported seeing 13 patients with flu-like symptoms between Monday, March 11 and Sunday, March 17.
It was a decrease from 19 patients in the previous week, and meant that 4.7 patients in every 100,000 registered with GPs were seen with the illness over the seven-day period.
Not all cases were recorded in the PHE figures, as only some GPs report how many consultations are for certain illnesses. The rates per population that PHE calculates takes this into account.
The decrease was reflected across the whole of the South West, where 47 per cent fewer people were seen with flu last week.
Symptoms of flu include fevers, with temperatures of 38C or higher, an aching body and feelings of exhaustion. People aged 65 years or older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions are eligible for a free flu vaccine. The NHS says people with flu can often treat it without seeing their GP, and should begin to feel better in about a week.
Levels of flu in Devon were 20 per cent higher than expected last week, when compared to the national average.
Devon historically has low levels of flu, with longer-term trends showing that levels are generally 10 per cent lower than the national average.
Doctors also saw 69 patients with diarrhoea last week, at a rate of 25.0 patients per 100,000.
It was 25 fewer than during the previous week, and meant that levels were as expected.
People with diarrhoea are advised to stay off work until the symptoms have stopped for at least two days. The NHS says it normally passes in five to seven days.
Also last week, 96 patients had gastroenteritis, 40 per cent below expected levels, and 15 had vomiting symptoms.
Gastroenteritis is a common condition, usually caused by a stomach bug. People with the illness are advised against going to see their GP, to help prevent the disease spreading.
Vomiting can be caused by a number of conditions, including norovirus, known as the vomiting bug, and food poisoning. The NHS says it should pass in one or two days.