Advice on swine flu to patients and visitors
Written by Head of Communications
If you have flu-like symptoms, we would advise that you stay at home to limit contact with others and seek medical advice. Please do not come into A&E or either Ashford or St. Peter's hospital.
A Statement from our Medical Director:
St Peter’s hospital is seeing increasing numbers of patients presenting at A&E with flu-like symptoms, and most don’t need to come to hospital at all. In order to limit the spread of the illness and to relieve pressure on the department, we would ask those who have flu-like symptoms not to come to A&E unless they are very ill. Similarly we would ask people not to telephone A&E directly for advice. Instead you should seek advice from either the new National Pandemic Flu Line or, if you have other serious underlying health conditions, from your GP ... read more.
Swine flu information for pregnant women
We are receiving lots of queries about swine flu. The majority of people who develop swine flu have a mild form of the illness. They experience all or some of the common symptoms of fever, tiredness, headache, cough and sore throat. However, we now know that pregnant women are much more likely to develop serious complications from swine flu and currently, around 10% of patients hospitalised with swine flu are pregnant women. The risk of complications for pregnant women includes miscarriage and premature labour depending on the stage of pregnancy.
Swine flu vaccine
A nationwide vaccination programme to protect against swine flu is now being rolled out. Because of the risk of serious complications, pregnant women have been designated as a priority group for receiving the vaccine first. There are two vaccines available in the UK (Pandemrix and Celvapan).The Department of Health advises that pregnant women should receive the Pandemrix vaccine as only one dose is required to produce immunity.
National Pandemic Flu Service
The National Pandemic Flu Service has been launched in England to give people with pandemic swine flu symptoms fast access to antivirals and to relieve pressures on GPs and the NHS.
The National Pandemic Flu Service features a new dedicated website and phoneline for people to check their symptoms and get a unique number that will give them access to antivirals if necessary.
People who have swine flu symptoms will be given a unique reference number and told where their nearest antiviral collection point is. They should then ask a flu friend – a friend or relative who doesn’t have swine flu – to go and pick up their antivirals.
The flu friend must show their own ID as well as that of the patient. The reference number and ID information will be checked to ensure it matches the information provided when the assessment of symptoms was completed. Anyone who suspects they have swine flu is advised not to go to their GP or A&E.
People should contact their doctor direct rather than using the National Pandemic Flu Service if:
- they have a serious underlying illness;
- they are pregnant;
- they have a sick child under one year old;
- their condition suddenly gets much worse; or
- if their condition is still getting worse after 7 days (5 for a child).
Please follow this advice rather than coming to A&E
We would also ask anyone planning to visit a patient who has any flu-like symptoms, to please stay away from the hospital until they feel better and have been free of symptoms for 48 hours. This will help to minimise the risk to patients, staff and other visitors.
Catch It, Bin It, Kill It
It is always good practice to follow respiratory and hand hygiene such as:
- Maintain good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread bacteria from hands to face or to other people.
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible
- Disposing of tissues promptly and carefully.
- Making sure your children follow this advice.
For more information please go to the NHS Surrey website or contact the national Swine Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513 or NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit the NHS Choices website.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 November 2009 16:09