Doctors and nurses in Doncaster and Worksop are urging people with flu-like symptoms to only attend the Emergency Department if it’s absolutely necessary, helping to minimise the risk of the illness spreading throughout hospital.
Since Christmas, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) has cared for over 200 patients presenting with the flu-like symptoms. While the illness can cause serious complications, the majority of people are able to recover with plenty of bed rest and fluids.
The most common symptoms of influenza (flu) are an abrupt onset of fever, shivering, headache, muscle ache and a dry cough. Most people confuse the flu with a heavy cold, although influenza is usually a more severe illness, which is caused by other respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus.
Flu vaccination by injection can protect adults (and some children) at risk of flu. You can ask your GP about having the flu jab if you’re aged 65 or over, pregnant, have a serious medical condition, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill.
Dr Ken Agwuh, Consultant Microbiologist and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the Trust, said: “Most people are able to manage their symptoms at home without seeing a doctor. Make sure to have lots of rest, keep warm and drink plenty of water. You can also take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat any aches and pains.
“Cold and flu can be extremely unpleasant, but you should start to feel much better within a week or so, but you may feel tired for much longer. In most cases, you will not need to see a GP, however if your symptoms become particularly severe, last longer than usual or have a long-term health condition, please seek medical advice.”
Local residents can help to minimise the risk of cold and flu spreading by following a few simple steps, such as:
Use a disposable, single-use tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing, sneezing, wiping or blowing your nose.
Dispose of these tissues promptly in a suitable place and hand hygiene should always be practised whenever coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose – any surface you come into contact with afterwards can become contaminated and spread the illness
David Purdue, Chief Operating Officer at the Trust, said: “Since the beginning of the year, we have seen high attendances at the Emergency Department. Please only attend the service if it is absolutely necessary and life-threatening. Although colds and the flu can be unpleasant, they will usually get better without the need to see anyone. These illnesses are highly infectious so please, if possible, stay away from the hospital in order to stop the virus spreading.”
For further information about health services in the area visit www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/winter and follow the winter health campaign on social media with #doncasterwinter18.