NHS issues swine flu advice

HEALTH bosses want Sidmouth residents to 'take precautionary measures' as swine flu fears grow.

HEALTH bosses want Sidmouth residents to "take precautionary measures" as swine flu fears grow.

The first UK cases of the potentially deadly virus were confirmed earlier this week, and Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT) has issued advice over the spread of colds and flu.

Dr Virginia Pearson, PCT director of public health, believes everyone has an important role to play in preventing the spread of germs.

She said: "Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, disposing of it as soon as possible and quickly and thoroughly cleaning your hands are the most important actions to prevent the spread of infection".

"This is as true for a common cold as it is for more serious diseases like flu and we should all be doing this as a matter of course.

"The NHS is being vigilant and is well prepared but it is too early to predict whether swine flu could ultimately result in a global pandemic."

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"We are working closely with NHS South West and the Health Protection Agency to ensure we act on the latest information and with local partner organisations to ensure effective co-ordination."

Dr Pearson added that the "routine" of staying home if you are sick "is as important now as it has ever been".

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that if the UK were to face a pandemic, the virus could infect up to 40 per cent of the population in the next six months.