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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020
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HSE urges people with the flu to stay away from hospitals

Do not go unless you are an at-risk person or your flu is getting worse after a week, Dr Vida Hamilton has advised.

Image: Shutterstock/Yuliya Apanasenko

THE HSE HAS urged people with the flu or norovirus to stay away from hospitals and GP surgeries to avoid infecting others who may already be unwell. 

Colds, sore throats and coughs are viral and can be treated with fluids and painkillers, said Dr Vida Hamilton, National Clinical Advisor, HSE Acute Hospital Operations. 

“Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and take paracetamol or ibuprofen for temperatures, aches and pains,” Hamilton advised today. 

“You will know when you have the flu. It comes on more suddenly than a cold, the whole body is affected, and you’ll experience loss of appetite and energy.”

She advised to stay in bed, rest, take fluids and use over-the-counter medications like paracetamol to ease symptoms.

“By venturing out to the GP or emergency department, you are not only putting your body through a stressful time, you are spreading the virus to people who may be in the at-risk groups,” said Hamilton. 

She advised that only if you are an at-risk person, or a healthy person who is getting worse a week into the flu, should you seek medical advice from a doctor. 

Those who are at-risk include people aged 65 and over, people with chronic illnesses, pregnant people and those with morbid obesity. 

“Remember, there will be sicker, immuno-compromised, and elderly and frail people at the surgery and in our hospitals, for whom exposure to flu could prove fatal, so think before you head out the door,” said Hamilton. 

Other ways to avoid spreading the flu include:

  • Putting used tissues in the bin immediately before washing your hands or using hand sanitiser.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue. 
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hands – this will spread germs to everything you touch.

Visit the HSE website for more advice on treating mild and viral illnesses this winter.

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