Every morning at 8am, INMO members count how many patients are waiting in the Emergency Department for a bed and how many are waiting in wards elsewhere in the hospital
There are 21 patients on trolleys and four patients on wards at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny today (Monday), according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
The HSE has urged the public to help prevent the spread of flu and norovirus by steering clear of hospitals and GP surgeries, so as not to infect others who may be very unwell already.
In order to prevent the spread of flu and norovirus visitor restrictions are in place in many of acute hospitals across the South-east. If you are planning to visit family and friends in University Hospital Waterford, St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny, Wexford General Hospital or South Tipperary General Hospital please note that visitor restrictions may apply.
In order to help prevent the spread of flu, it has also been necessary to implement visitor restrictions in many private nursing homes and public nursing homes.
“If you have the flu, the advice is to stay in bed and rest, take fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease symptoms," said Dr Jacinta Mulroe (Specialist in Public Health medicine in the South-east).
"By venturing out to the GP or Emergency Department, you are not only putting your body through a stressful time, you are spreading the virus to people who may be in the at risk groups. 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 your head out the door.
“The vaccine is our best protection against a very unpredictable virus. The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. If you then come into contact with the virus, these antibodies will attack it and reduce your chance of becoming very sick. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine, and the flu vaccine works within two weeks.”