ABMU issues advice across South West Wales area.
ABMU has told us they've seen a rise in the number of people they are treating for flu. 180 patients have been confirmed and there are many more suspected cases . This is approximately 40-50 more confirmed cases since Friday. Morriston, Singleton, the Princess of Wales and Neath Port Talbot hospitals all have flu cases. It is likely that levels will remain high for the next few weeks.
The health board has told there have been 12 deaths - with patients who had confirmed influenza at the time they died. Nine deaths were in our hospitals and three in the community. However, these patients were ill with other medical conditions; so while they had flu, flu may not have been the direct cause of their death. ABMU has been advised, however, that some of these cases did have flu as one of the causes on their death certificate. Due to the potential identification of individual patients, the health board is unable at this stage to give exact numbers.
What to do if you think you have flu
Flu is not just a heavy cold. Flu can be very serious, and in some cases life-threatening. It is still not too late for people who are in at-risk groups and those over the age of 65 to get their free flu jabs if they have not yet had them. Flu vaccines are not perfect, but they remain the single best way to protect against flu. Having a flu vaccine significantly reduces your chances of getting flu in the first place; but if you are unlucky and still catch it, your illness is likely to be milder and shorter.
Please do not visit patients in our hospitals if you have any flu-like symptoms. We are also discouraging ‘casual’ visiting to our wards, to restrict the overall numbers of people coming to our hospitals. Please only visit patients if you are a close relative, carer or very close friend.
You can also help to keep flu from spreading by washing your hands frequently. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of the tissue as soon as possible. Clean hard surfaces and avoid contact with others until you feel better.
Most healthy people with flu can care for themselves at home. You should drink plenty of fluids, take paracetamol or ibuprofen, keep warm and rest. Symptoms usually resolve in about a week. While you are unwell, especially for the first five days, avoid spreading flu as much as possible. Try to stay away from those who are very old, very young, pregnant or have a long term health condition as they are at high risk of complications from flu.
Most people do not need to visit their GP surgery if they think they have flu. However, those who are aged 65 or over, have a long-term health condition, are pregnant or are worried about a young child should seek early advice from their GP surgery, as should those who are very unwell or who are not improving after a week. If you live in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend or Carmarthenshire, you can also ring 111 for advice.
People should only attend A&E or call an ambulance if they need urgent care, for example feeling short of breath, chest pain or coughing up blood, or have other serious symptoms, or if they deteriorate quickly.