STRICT visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu-like symptoms.
A statement from the hospital this lunchtime said: ‘In the interest of patient care, and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of the following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.’
The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected. ‘We regret any inconvenience caused to patients and relatives by these necessary measures, which are being taken in the interests of patient care. All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus,’ the statement added.
People with flu-like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.
‘We are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.’
The HSE has offered the following advice:
Symptoms of Flu
The symptoms of influenza usually develop over a matter of a few hours and include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat. This is different from the common cold, which tends to come on more gradually and usually includes a runny nose and a normal temperature.
Stopping Flu from Spreading
Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, disposing of the tissue as soon as possible and cleaning your hands as soon as you can are important measures in helping prevent the spread of influenza and other germs and reducing the risk of transmission.
How to care for Flu
Most people, unless they are in at risk group, can get better themselves at home. Advice, tips, information and videos on getting over flu and other common illnesses are available at a new HSE website, www.undertheweather.ie. The site was developed by the HSE along with GPs and pharmacists and is a great resource for people to get advice and get better. Anyone who gets flu should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease symptoms. Anyone in one of the high-risk groups should contact their GP if they develop influenza symptoms. If you need to visit your GP or the Emergency Department, please phone first to explain that you might have flu.
The vast majority of people with flu can recover by themselves at home, with rest, fluids and over the counter medication. The HSE provides useful, comprehensive advice on how to recognise flu, and care for yourself or someone else, on our www.undertheweather.ie website. The website also gives advice on when to seek medical care or advice on the phone, whether this is from the Pharmacist, the GP, a GP Out of Hours Service, an Injury Unit or in the case of medical emergencies, the Ambulance Service or Hospital Emergency Departments. You can visit www.hse.ie/winter for easy access to contact details for the range of services available.