HSE asks people with flu to stay out of emergency departments
The HSE has asked people who are suffering from the flu and norovirus to keep Ireland's emergency departments free for emergencies.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Dr Vida Hamilton, the National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead at HSE Acute Hospital Operations, reminded the public that "weather illnesses" like colds are viral and self-limiting, meaning that they cannot be treated by antibiotics and are better treated with fluids and painkillers.
Hamilton also explained the tell-tale signs of a flu, saying: "You will know when you have the flu. It comes on more suddenly than a cold, the whole body is affected and you’ll experience loss of appetite and energy."
Those who find themselves with a dose are advised to stay in bed, rest, take plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter painkillers.
Hamilton said: "Only if you are in one of the at risk categories, or you are an otherwise healthy person who is getting worse a week into the flu-like illness, should you seek medical advice from your GP.
"Remember, there will be sicker, immuno-compromised and elderly and frail people at the surgery and in our hospitals, for whom exposure to flu could prove fatal, so think before you head out the door."
Those in the at-risk categories include those 65 years and over, pregnant women, anyone over six months of age with a long-term illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes, cancer or those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment.