Public being urged not to visit loved ones in hospital if showing flu symptoms to reduce risk of spreading illness

Public urged not to visit loved ones in hospital if they're showing signs of flu.
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The NHS is urging people in the region not to visit loved ones in hospital if they are unwell, have been unwell in the last 48 hours, or have had contact with a person with flu-like symptoms in recent days.

Doctors and nurses across the North East and North Cumbria are urging anyone with symptoms of the flu virus to only attend hospital if absolutely necessary, to help minimise the risk of the illness spreading.

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David Purdue, executive chief nurse, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: "We are currently seeing an increase in the number of people contracting the flu virus within our local communities.

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"Although flu can be very nasty it will usually get better usually without the need to see a doctor or attend hospital, but it is a highly infectious illness, therefore we are urging people with symptoms to stay away from hospital in order to stop the virus spreading.

"Hospital visitors also have an important role to play in preventing the spread of infection so if you, or someone within your household, is unwell with flu-like symptoms or COVID-19, diarrhoea, vomiting or any other infectious condition they should not visit friends or relatives in hospital and should ensure they have been clear of any symptoms for at least 48 hours before visiting."

Flu symptoms can come on very quickly and can include:

  • a sudden high temperature
  • an aching body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick and being sick
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Symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.

"At the first sign of illness, we would suggest that you visit your local pharmacist who can provide advice and suggest medication to help you feel better faster, added Mr Purdue.

"Most people will be able to manage their symptoms at home, without seeing a doctor, by getting plenty of rest, keeping warm and drinking plenty of water.

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"You could also take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat any aches and pains, but please speak to your local community pharmacist about advice on treatments or if you’re unsure about any of the symptoms."

Anyone eligible for a free flu vaccine this winter, who has not yet booked their appointment, is also being urged to get their vaccination now. Those eligible include:

  • people aged 65 and over
  • anyone in a clinical at-risk group, people who are immunosuppressed and their household contacts
  • pregnant women
  • people with learning disabilities
  • health and social care workers and carers

Contact your GP practice or find a local participating pharmacy at

How to look after yourself if you have flu:

  • rest and sleep
  • keep warm
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)

To reduce the risk of spreading flu:

  • wash your hands often with warm water and soap
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible