The Health Board is warning that people who are infected with influenza must stay at home until they are completely free of symptoms after an increase in adults and elderly people requiring hospitalization.
With influenza and flu-like symptoms, people need to be properly treated at home. Reducing their fever and temporarily improving well-being with pain-relieving medicines is not a good reason to return to work or school, the Health Board said.
Olga Sadikova, chief specialist at the Influenza Center at the Health Board, said the number of elderly and adult patients in need of hospitalization this year has risen, which may be attributed to the occurrence of post-flu complications as a result of working while ill.
"A person with the so-called 'upright' flu will certainly put themselves at risk when they are sick at work because complications are more likely to arise when you are ill," Sadikova said.
In addition, people moving around while ill can also infect at-risk groups for whom the flu may become life-threatening. "So it's not worth thinking that after you take an over the counter medicine, for example, you can go to work or have a parent meeting," said Sadikova, who advises sick people to take time out and relax.
She said even in the case of mild symptoms, crowded areas should be avoided and a distance of at least 1.5 meters should be kept. Washing hands with soap and water during flu seasons should be done regularly. When sneezing or coughing, the mouth should be covered with a handkerchief or, in its absence, a sleeve. The best way to prevent flu is to get a flu vaccination, the Health Board said, which last for a year.
Hospital visits are allowed, but sick children must not be left unattended with their grandparents as often children can pass on infections.
The influenza season has not yet reached its peak but it is on the rise. The morbidity intensity can still be estimated as low, but the spread of influenza is widespread.
Last week, from January 27 to February 2, 3,818 patients were referred to doctors with upper respiratory viral infections, and the total number of referrals increased by 25 percent in a week. Influenza and influenza-like illness increased by 61 percent.
Editor: Helen Wright