Chief Nurses from across Sussex are urging those visiting loved ones in hospitals and care homes to make sure they don’t give the gift of infection this Christmas.
Those in hospital or care homes are at greater risk of suffering from serious health complications if they catch Flu or Norovirus.
Chief Nurses in Sussex believe this could be avoided if visitors delay their festive visits if they are feeling unwell with symptoms of flu until they are fully recovered, and if those eligible take up the opportunity to get their free Flu jab.
Anyone with vomiting, diarrhoea or feeling unwell should avoid coming to hospital or other care facilities to visit relatives or friends to limit the chance of passing on the Norovirus.
For those who do find they have symptoms of the flu or diarrhoea and vomiting, the NHS advises plenty of rest and sleep, to keep warm, take regular paracetamol or ibuprofen (follow medication guidance on the drug packet) and to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse Officer for Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Flu and Norovirus are potentially very serious illnesses for those being cared for in hospitals or care homes.
“Chief nurses in Sussex are now advising patients and their carers to limit their contact with those who have these illnesses, and for those who do feel unwell to avoid going to hospitals, or other care facilities, unless absolutely necessary.”
The health service in Sussex has implemented its largest ever flu protection drive to help keep local people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the winter, with the flu vaccines now available for free for those in at risk groups which include:
- All children aged two to ten (but not eleven years or older) on 31 August 2019, this covers nurseries, Reception through school years 1-6
- Those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 years and over
- Those in long-stay residential care homes
- Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
People identified in the risk groups can receive the flu vaccine through their GP, and from their local high street pharmacist. The childhood vaccination programme uses a flu nasal spray, protecting children and anyone they come into contact with.