Residents urged to help stop spread of flu virus

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RESIDENTS are being urged to make sure they do everything they can to stop the flu virus spreading as the number of people in hospital levels out.

NHS North East says that although there are people still seriously ill and being treated in hospital, members of the public are being asked to choose the right service in a bid to relieve pressure on busy hospital teams.

Officials have said only a small number of those affected have become seriously ill, with most recovering well.

People who are normally fit and healthy who may have the flu are urged to stay at home, rest, drink plenty of water, and take paracetamol-based cold remedies.

They are urged not to attend A&E.

Dr Tricia Cresswell, deputy medical director at NHS North East, said: “We are continuing to see a number of people seriously ill with flu in critical care.

“Although the NHS in the region is under pressure – not only from flu but from an increase in urgent admissions due to other conditions – the system is very well prepared and coping well.

“We are actively managing critical care on a day-to-day basis and additional capacity is in place to care for both flu patients and all others who are seriously ill and require urgent medical care.

“Unfortunately this has resulted in some non-urgent operations being postponed as we care for those in need of immediate emergency treatment.”

And the NHS is urging people in the ‘at risk’ groups who have not yet had a flu vaccination to arrange an appointment with their GP.

Dr Cresswell added: “Pregnant women and those under 65 with chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and certain other conditions are at greater risk of more serious illness if they catch flu.

“We still want to see vaccination rates increase further and would like to reassure people we have vaccine for everyone who needs to be protected this winter.”

And speaking on the increased demand on hospitals, she added: “By choosing the most appropriate service for the seriousness of their symptoms, everyone can play their part and means we can ensure those who are most seriously ill and in need of urgent hospital-based treatment receive that care as soon as possible.”