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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Public asked to help prevent the spread of flu

Public asked to help prevent the spread of flu

Posted on Tuesday 29th March 2016

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is asking patients to help prevent the spread of flu by looking themselves well and not attending hospital inappropriately.

The Trust has seen an increase in the number of patients accessing its emergency department with flu-like symptoms and is urging people to stay away and stop the virus spreading to vulnerable patients and to staff.

People who are generally fit and healthy can usually manage the symptoms of flu by practising good self-care and without the need to see a doctor at all. Symptoms can be managed best at home with plenty of rest, taking over the counter medication such as paracetamol and by drinking plenty of fluids.  Most people get better without treatment and will recover from flu within a week.

Flu symptoms include a sudden fever (high temperature), cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (generally feeling unwell), sore throat and runny nose.  It can be particularly serious for people who are already ill or who have a long-term condition.

If you are worried about your symptoms you should contact your GP in the first instance via telephone so as not to spread the virus in the practice, or by using the free NHS 111 number over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend who will advise the most appropriate action to take.

Flu is highly contagious and spread very quickly anywhere that people are gathered, such as hospitals, schools or offices. Hospitals are public buildings with hundreds of visitors every day. That is why the NHS asks people to think carefully before visiting hospitals if they or anyone in their family has flu-like symptoms.

If you think you have flu but are otherwise fit and healthy you should stay at home. Get plenty of rest and use standard paracetamol-based cold remedies to reduce your temperature and help relieve your symptoms.

Drink plenty of fluids while you recover. You may need to stay in bed for two or three days after your symptoms peak. You should begin to feel much better within five to eight days.

If you’re in a high-risk group, you should also follow your GP’s advice.

You can also help to stop the flu virus spreading to other people by:

•  using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze

•  putting used tissues in a bin as soon as possible

•  washing your hands regularly with soap and water

•  cleaning surfaces regularly to get rid of germs

Dr Clive Graham, director of infection prevention & control at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are seeing a number of patients with flu-like symptoms accessing our A&E departments. I would like to urge people to contact their GP or 111 service before visiting A&E to prevent the risk of spreading the virus.

“Most people recover at home within a week from the flu without the need for treatment. We always strongly recommend that those with a higher risk of complications or over the age of 65 have the seasonal flu vaccine which targets the three main strains of flu.”