Patient advice on how to stay well this winter

With winter just around the corner, NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership are advising their residents on the best ways to stay well during the cold weather.  Ordering repeat prescriptions  Residents in North Yorkshire who are on repeat medication are being encouraged to place their orders this week to avoid running out.…

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Health and care leaders in North Yorkshire and York prepare for the winter season

Health and care partners in North Yorkshire and York are working closely together to ensure local services are well prepared for the winter season – and patients can continue accessing help when they need it. The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has meant that there have been changes to the way health and care services are being…

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Visitors urged to keep flu out of hospital

Visitors to hospitals in North and East
Yorkshire are being urged to help protect patients and staff by reducing the
spread of flu and other illnesses which are commonly associated with winter.

Flu, short for influenza, is a common
infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can prove fatal for
vulnerable people, with those aged 65 and over and with long-term health
conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, particularly at risk.

At this time of year, a rise in the
numbers of cases of rotavirus and diarrhoea bugs is also common and these can
be equally disruptive if there is an outbreak in a hospital or other healthcare

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation
Trust, which runs Scarborough Hospital, says there had been a number of
confirmed flu cases on the wards over the last few weeks which had led to some
bays being closed, putting beds out of action at a time of year when they are
most in demand.

Heather McNair, Chief Nurse at York
Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are asking people who have
been unwell with symptoms of flu not to visit the hospital until they have been
free of symptoms for at least two days. This is really important because the
virus is highly infectious and outbreaks can happen quickly.

“We ask that people think carefully
before paying any non-essential visits, and to keep hands clean and be vigilant
about hand washing. This is to keep the virus contained and to help visitors
keep themselves safe as well as their friends or relatives.”

Dr Charles Parker, who will become the
Clinical Chair of North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) when the
CCGs in Scarborough and Ryedale, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby, and
Harrogate and Rural District are disestablished at the end of March next year,
added: “An outbreak of flu or norovirus in hospitals and other healthcare
settings can have serious consequences, both for patients who may already very
unwell, and on the hospital space that’s available to look after people.

“When there is an outbreak of flu or
another infection, it’s important this can be contained, but it may mean bays
and sometimes entire wards are quarantined and are not available.”

Hospital visitors are asked to:

  • Stay away if they have signs or symptoms of the infection. Some of the main symptoms of flu include:
    – a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
    – tiredness and weakness
    – a headache
    – general aches and pains
    – a dry, chesty cough
  • Cold-like symptoms – such as a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat – can also be caused by flu, but they tend to be less severe than the other symptoms you have.
  • Think carefully before paying any non-essential visits at this time
  • Keep hands clean and be vigilant about hand washing.
  • Respect the fact that if a ward is closed due to the virus, this also applies to visitors.  There are exceptions to this, and the ward sister can advise visitors if they feel they have exceptional circumstances.

You can protect yourself, your family
and other patients by getting yourself vaccinated. The flu vaccination is available
every year to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its

The injected flu vaccine is offered
free on the NHS annually to:

  • adults over the age of 18 at risk of
    flu (including everyone aged 65 and over)
  • pregnant women
  • children aged six months to two years
    at risk of flu

Many pharmacies also offer the flu

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GP advice on how to stay well this winter

With winter just around the corner, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are advising local residents on the best ways to stay well during the cold weather.

There are a number of effects the winter can have, and they are not just physical, the colder weather and shorter days can also affect your mental health.

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, Governing Body member and Local GP, Dr Peter Billingsly has a lot of useful tips to help you stay well this winter.

Be aware of norovirus

‘Norovirus outbreaks are more common this time of year, there is no specific treatment for norovirus, but you can take steps to ease your symptoms. If you’ve got sickness and diarrhoea, stay hydrated.

‘Don’t see your GP unless symptoms persist more than a few days, the best ways to avoid catching norovirus is wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet. Last but not least, norovirus can leave you contagious 48 hours after the symptoms go, so please avoid hospitals and care homes.’

Get your flu vaccination

‘The best way to stay protected against the flu is to get the vaccination, the jab is free for pregnant women, over 65s and those with underlying health conditions. If you have a child ages 2 – 3 they are entitled to a free flu nasal spray to keep them protected.

‘If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, please seek advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. If you want to book a vaccination please contact your GP practice.’

Use the right service

‘If it is not an emergency, you can get medical advice 24/7 by using the NHS 111 service, they have trained medical professionals available who can direct you to the most appropriate medical care.

‘If you want to speak to someone face to face you don’t always have to wait for an appointment with your doctor. Your local pharmacy can provide clinical advice for minor health conditions common over the winter period such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.’

Keep a stock of useful medicines

‘It is important to keep a stock of over the counter medicines in your home over the Christmas period as your local surgery or pharmacy may not be open.

‘These remedies could include basic painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol, cough syrup and antacids that are all available at your local supermarket.’

Look out for yourself and others

‘The colder weather and shorter days can affect your mental health, get out in the sunshine if you can, even short bursts can improve your mental wellbeing.

‘Older neighbours and relatives are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help to stay well, make sure you keep in touch and check in on them when you can.’

There is further advice on self-care san be found here, you can also find details of GP and pharmacy opening times over the winter season.

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Keep infections at bay – health bosses call on patients with flu or norovirus to stay away from hospital

The NHS in York and
North Yorkshire is calling on residents and communities for help to prevent the
spread of winter infections.

An outbreak of influenza
or norovirus in hospital could have serious consequences for patients who are
already poorly and can lead to entire wards being shut down and quarantined,
putting an additional strain on NHS resources at a time when they are most in

With the number of
cases of norovirus starting to rise in our communities – not uncommon at this
time of year – health leaders from York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
and clinical commissioning groups in York and North Yorkshire are appealing
directly to people with symptoms of influenza or norovirus to act responsibly and
stay away from GP surgeries, hospitals and other healthcare settings, where

NHS Scarborough and
Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chairman, Dr Phil Garnett, said:
“When we have loved ones who are poorly and in hospital, it’s natural we want
to be with them, even if we’re feeling under the weather ourselves.

“However, influenza
and norovirus are particularly contagious and the risk of passing these infections
on to the person you are visiting in hospital who may already be quite ill – as
well as other sick people and hospital staff – is extremely high.

“When a flu or
norovirus outbreak occurs, particularly in an environment like a hospital, it
is difficult to contain and can lead to the closure of entire wards, putting a
huge strain on local NHS resources at a time of year when they are most in

York Teaching Hospital
NHS Foundation Trust Chief Nurse, Heather McNair, added: “Closing wards helps
us to contain an outbreak, but it means beds become unavailable and pressure is
created throughout the entire system. Visitors can help by staying away if they
have the flu or diarrhoea and vomiting and for at least two days after their
symptoms have stopped.”

Norovirus is the most
common stomach bug in the UK, affecting people of all ages. Like the flu, it spreads
rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes. It
can be spread through contact with an infected person, by contact with
contaminated surfaces or by consuming contaminated food or water.

Typical symptoms of a
norovirus infection include the sudden onset of projectile vomiting and watery
diarrhoea. Some people also experience headaches, mild temperature and stomach

There is no treatment
for norovirus but it is important people who have the winter vomiting bug keep
hydrated to combat the loss of fluids. People with norovirus will recover in a
day or two, but will remain infectious for up to three days after recovery.

Common symptoms of flu
include a high temperature, fatigue, headache, general aches and pains and a
dry, chesty cough. The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink
plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help lower a
high temperature and relieve aches.

Anyone who thinks they
may have flu or norovirus is advised not to visit a GP surgery, but to stay at
home and call NHS 111 for advice if necessary.

There are simple steps
people can take to reduce the risk of spreading norovirus:-

  • Thorough hand washing – wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry
  • Don’t prepare food while infected
  • Immediately clean and disinfect surfaces after episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Wash clothes and bed linen that may be contaminated thoroughly
  • Drink plenty of fluids – stay away from caffeine and pay particular attention to the young and elderly for signs of dehydration

To reduce the risk of
spreading flu, people should regularly clean surfaces such as door handles,
telephones and computer keyboards to get rid of germs (hand contact with
infected surfaces is a common way for a virus to spread), use tissues to cover
the mouth when coughing or sneezing, put used tissues in the bin as soon as
possible and wash hands regularly.

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