Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Survey reveals 'flu misconceptions

People underestimate the dangers of flu according to a survey of more than 1,000 people reported by the BBC.

The survey revealed that many people seem to believe that flu is the same as a heavy cold. The findings also reveal that:

  • One in four believed that "feeding a cold" and "starving a fever" is appropriate advice
  • A third believe that vitamin C will cure 'flu
  • One in twenty believe that garlic prevents 'flu
  • One in twenty believe that the influenza vaccination can cause 'flu

People also seem to be unaware of simple hygiene measures that can prevent the spread of colds and 'flu. These measures include covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, washing their hands after coughing or sneezing into them and quickly disposing of used tissues or handkerchiefs.

Action: Clinicians should offer basic advice to patients to encourage good respiratory hygiene to help reduce the spread of infection. All eligible patients should be offered the influenza vaccination and advised that vaccination cannot cause influenza infection.

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