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Public urged not attend A&E with flu-like symptoms

02 March 2016
Please help us protect our patients by not coming into hospital if you have flu-like symptoms

“We need the support of the local community to respect visiting restrictions, which may need to be introduced on affected wards, and not to visit the hospital if they have flu or flu- like symptoms.”

People suffering with flu-like symptoms are being asked to not to come to hospital but keep warm and hydrated and call NHS 111 or visit their GP if they are worried.

There has been a rise in the number of people attending A&E at CUH Addenbroooke’s with flu-like symptoms, with an especially high number of children with colds and sniffles.

Due to the mild winter and the current cold weather, the emergency department is under pressure with an increase in patients being admitted with flu-related illnesses, especially the frail elderly.

There are currently visiting restrictions on some wards at CUH because of flu. The local community are being urged not to visit A&E with flu or norovirus as it can’t be treated in hospital and the best advice is to stay home and ‘keep warm’.

Rachel Thaxter, lead infection control nurse at CUH, said: “The number of people with seasonal flu increased significantly during February in Cambridgeshire.  Here at CUH we are seeing people attending the hospital suffering from flu which increases the risk of those viruses being spread within the hospital and putting our patients, many of whom are very sick, at risk.

“We need the support of the local community to respect visiting restrictions, which may need to be introduced on affected wards, and not to visit the hospital if they have flu or flu- like symptoms.”

Dr Neil Modha, chief clinical officer at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have seen a spike in the number of people going to A&E with flu-like symptoms. Our A&E departments are already very busy, so we are asking people to think about which NHS service they use.

Coughs, colds and flu-like illnesses can be treated by staying at home, resting, and drinking plenty of fluids.  The flu virus is common at this time of year, and is not usually serious, although you may need to stay in bed for a few days. Influenza is a virus so cannot be treated with antibiotics and in most cases it will run its course. More vulnerable people, such as children, older people or people with long term conditions may need extra support and advice, this can be given by a GP, local pharmacist or NHS 111.

“Please remember, visiting accident and emergency departments with relatively minor health issues causes pressure in busy departments that are designed to treat patients with urgent and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Our NHS staff in A&E do an amazing job every day. Let's help them by using their services wisely."