HEALTH officials are advising people affected by flu to 'think' before seeking further medical attention.

In an attempt to reduce the spread of influenza and to free up emergency services, Public Health Wales are reminding people affected by flu to stay away from their GP and hospitals and to rest at home until their symptoms resolve.

There has been a rise in the number of cases of flu, a viral infection, reported. Sufferers are advised to drink plenty of fluid, take ibuprofen or paracetamol and to avoid contact with vulnerable individuals while they are recovering.

Dr Giri Shankar, professional lead consultant for Health Protection at Public Health Wales, said: “People are reminded that while flu is circulating in Wales and looks set to increase over the coming weeks, the types of flu being seen are as expected and are not more dangerous than those seen in previous years.

"People in at-risk groups with flu-like symptoms, such as those over the age of 65, pregnant women or those with a pre-existing medical condition, should phone their GP surgery or NHS Direct Wales for advice as soon as the symptoms start as anti-viral medication may be recommended.

"They should not attend their surgery without calling first to help reduce the risk of spreading infection to others."

To help reduce the chances of flu spreading, people are advised to

Catch it - to cough or sneeze into a tissue;

Bin in - dispose of the tissue after use and then

Kill it - to wash hand or to use hand sanitiser to kill any flu or viruses.

Those with flu symptoms are advised to stay home from work or so and away from other public places for at least 24 hours to avoid infecting others. Most people feel better within a week of becoming infected with the flu virus, although coughing can last up to two weeks.

People who are concerned that their symptoms are worsening should call their GP or NHS Direct Wales (0845 46 47) for advice and should not go to A&E unless advised to do so.

A flu vaccination is available every year to people in at-risk groups. These include: Those aged over 65, people with certain long-term health conditions, pregnant women, frontline healthcare workers, carers and young children. Anyone who has missed out on vaccination can call their GP surgery for advice or visit