Hospital Visitors To Stay Clear As Bugs Increase

A doctor from the Southern Trust has requested that people only visit hospitals if absolutely necessary as bugs in the community increase.

The call comes following a rise in cases of flu, vomiting and diarrhoea which has already impacted on some wards in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals.

Members of the public are urged to respect visiting rules in order to prevent the spread of infections.

Dr Maria O'Kane, a Southern Trust Medical Director, said latest figures indicate that flu activity is a fifth higher than it was at this time last year.
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"Although flu is a nasty virus, for most people it will get better without the need to attend hospital or contact the GP, however like norovirus, it is highly infectious," Dr O'Kane said. "We are urging people with symptoms to stay away from hospital to help ease the pressure on our busy teams and stop the viruses spreading, as the risk of passing these infections on to the person you are visiting in hospital as well as other sick people and hospital staff – is extremely high."

Those entitled to a free flu jab are strongly advised to get one. Trust staff also need to have theirs to protect patients, the public and themselves.

Dr O'Kane continued: "We understand that friends and family want to see loved ones in hospital however visitors must respect our rules – i.e. don't visit if you or someone in your house has symptoms of cold, flu, vomiting or diarrhoea, no more than two visitors to each patient at any time and wash your hands before entering and leaving wards.

"We are also asking people not to bring in foods such as takeaways, sandwiches and products with cream and to make sure to keep the patient's area clutter free.

"We have installed new signage across all of our hospital sites reminding everyone that clean hands save lives. We all have a role to play in the continued drive against infection and in ensuring that patients receive the safest possible care."


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