Health Service on high alert as flu bug hits the county

THE FERMANAGH public are being urged to do all they can to help stop the spread of the flu and norovirus, which are currently doing the rounds in the county.

This includes getting the annual flu vaccine, if you are eligible, making sure you keep your hands washed at all times, and avoiding hospitals, nursing homes and GP surgeries if you are infected.

Weekly surveillance reports from the Public Health Agency (PHA) have confirmed cases of flu and other viral infections such as the norovirus are up significantly this year. While the PHA reports only included figures for the whole of North, here in Fermanagh parents, school staff, and health workers have been noticing an increase in the numbers of those being struck down this year.


Dr Gerry Waldron, assistant director of public health at the PHA, said: “Each year we plan for flu during the winter months, so while the increase is not unusual, we are seeing it slightly earlier than expected. This reflects the unpredictable nature of flu, which is why it is important to get the vaccine to maximise protection.”

Dr Waldron said the vaccine was the best way to protect yourself and urged those with an underlying health condition, pregnant women, those over 65, and children to be immunised. The doctor also urged those who are suffering from a viral infection to take care not to spread it, particularly to those at risk.

Anyone with vomiting or diarrhoea not should not visit loved ones in hospitals or nursing homes, and should avoid visiting their GP surgery also and to ring for advice instead. Remember, there is no cure for most viruses.

“Respiratory illnesses such as colds and flu, as well as other illnesses such as vomiting and diarrhoea, can be very common at this time of year,” said Dr Waldron. “For most people they are short-term, unpleasant illnesses, with most of us getting better within a few days. However, we can all play our part in keeping illnesses at bay and helping to protect more vulnerable people, for whom they can present a more serious risk.”

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