Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Nursing Director has issued a fresh call for people with cold or flu like symptoms not to visit patients in hospital, as high flu rates continue.
Dr Margaret McGuire said: “Since the beginning of the year, flu levels in Scotland and Greater Glasgow and Clyde have quadrupled, to their highest level since 2010.
“With levels still so high, our challenge is to try to prevent its spread to our patients and staff.
“Flu is extremely infectious and can easily spread to other people – that’s why it is vital that you protect your loved ones in hospital by staying away until you are better. If they are in hospital they are already ill or injured so you don’t want to make them worse by bringing in germs.
“You’re more likely to give it to others in the first five days, and it is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. There are a number of simple actions people can take to reduce the risk of spreading the virus including washing your hands often with warm water and soap, using tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, and binning those tissues as quickly as possible. Catch it, bin it, kill it.
“We would urge anyone who has experienced any flu symptoms within the last forty-eight hours not to visit hospital as it could be passed on to patients who are already very unwell.
"If you are well enough to visit, please remember to keep your hands clean by washing and using antibacterial gel. Clean hands are the best way to stop spreading infection."
NHSGGC hospitals are experiencing the usual winter pressures. It is therefore urging patients to attend the most appropriate service for their healthcare needs.
There is a range of out of hours support available for patients, including pharmacies, GP Out of Hours service, and Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) including the West Glasgow MIU which opened on 3 January.
Dr McGuire added: “It’s not too late to protect yourself and your family by having a flu jag. The flu vaccine is free for those in higher risk groups and is still available and I would urge those who are eligible to take advantage of this.
“Every year in Scotland, around two thirds of people who get severe flu and need intensive care treatment have a health condition such as chronic lung or heart disease. People with health conditions are at greater risk and need the extra protection – no matter what age you are, how fit and healthy you feel, if you have a health condition including diabetes, asthma, bronchitis and heart disease, you are more vulnerable to flu.”
For more information, please visit www.nhsggc.org.uk
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