THE NHS is urging people who fall ill with flu-like symptoms not to cram into hospitals and surgeries.
Health experts say patients can take care of themselves at home with recommended treatments being rest, drinking non-alcoholic fluids and taking an over-the-counter remedy containing paracetamol.
The advice comes as local hospitals and surgeries say they experienced a busy Christmas period with a large number of people with flu-like symptoms seeking help.
Dr Jim Hogan, a GP from the Lake Road Practice in Portsmouth, said: 'The last thing you feel like when you are ill is going out and about, and because flu-like illnesses are very contagious, we would much prefer people to stay at home if they are unwell.
'If you are still feeling worse after a few days, are in a high-risk group or have other more serious symptoms such as breathing difficulties then you must get help.
'Please do make an appointment with your GP surgery.
'Practices are open as normal for the rest of the week.'
Although the majority of people with flu-like symptoms do not have actually have 'the flu', patients eligible for the flu vaccine are being urged to contact their GP surgery to have it as soon as possible.
This includes all pregnant women, people aged between six months and 65 years with at risk conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart problems, or kidney disease and everybody over the age of 65.
For more information go to nhsdirect.nhs.uk.