Don’t put others at risk this Christmas if you have flu symptoms, UK health experts urge Health | Daily News Byte

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While the pull of holiday parties and family gatherings can be strong, experts reiterate that people feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms should stay home.

Hospital admissions for flu continue to rise, with the highest levels seen in people aged 85 and over and children under five, according to data from England from the UK Health Security Agency.

The overall weekly hospitalization rate for influenza rose to 8.27 per 100,000 in the week beginning Dec. 12, up from 6.80 per 100,000 the previous week, with the Northeast seeing the highest hospitalization rate.

“Emergency department attendances for influenza-like illness continue to rise nationally, for all age groups and regions,” notes the latest UKHSA report.

UKHSA Director of Public Health Programs Dr. Mary Ramsay urged people to avoid mixing if they feel uncomfortable.

“Both Covid and flu can cause serious illness or death for the most vulnerable people in our communities, and so it is also important to avoid contact with other people if you are sick to help prevent the spread of infection over the Christmas and New Year period. . ,” she said.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today program on Friday, Calum Semple, professor of child health and epidemiological medicine at the University of Liverpool, said many hospitals, including his own, were under pressure.

“I’ve been looking at the numbers specifically in the Northwest where I work and we’re seeing the flu hard and very early,” he said.

Semple said UKHSA’s advice was correct. “If you have symptoms – runny nose, throat, fever, headache and feel like the flu – please stay home,” he said. “You don’t know if the person sitting next to you or in the shop may have underlying cancer or other sensitivities.”

Semple said other precautions to consider included wearing face masks in crowded places where ventilation was poor.

“But the basics are also really important – catch coughs and sneezes in disposable tissues and wash your hands when you get home,” he added. “Do not touch things in public and then do not eat: for it brings the hand to your face again.”

The sample also dismissed discussions about “immune debt” which suggests that people’s immune systems have weakened due to the Covid lockdown.

“Just the fact that you haven’t been exposed to the flu for two years means that if it’s circulating, then you’re going to catch it,” he said.

“It’s not because you’ve somehow weakened your immune system. If you caught it two years ago, you would have had a bad flu two years ago.

Semple said vaccination is crucial to preventing diseases such as the flu, but said confidence in vaccination in more deprived areas, including children and pregnant women, could be behind the decline.

“I think it’s understandable if you accept that there’s a degree of fatigue in the population in general and there’s a huge amount of misinformation that really needs to be tackled head on,” he said. “And I think that’s something where there’s room for improvement.”

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