NHS Fife has revealed there has been a considerable rise in people being admitted to hospital with flu in the Kingdom over recent weeks.
Dr Esther Curnock, consultant in public health medicine, said staff are currently seeing flu in much higher numbers than they have in previous years.
She explained that there are a number of flu strains circulating, including the strain referred to as Australian flu, but said it is no worse than other strains of the virus.
She said: “Flu is common in winter, and much like the rest of Scotland, we are currently seeing flu in much higher numbers than we have seen in previous years.
“We know that there are a number of strains of flu circulating in our communities, including the strain often referred to as Australian Flu.
“Although this strain is no worse than other strains, it is worth remembering that all forms of flu can be potentially serious or even life-threatening, particularly for the elderly and those with other health conditions.
“In Fife, we have seen a considerable rise in the number of hospital admissions as a result of flu over recent weeks, which has added pressure to our hospitals at the time of peak demand.”
She said the best way for Fifers to protect themselves from flu is to receive the vaccination and also urged people not to visit friends or relatives in hospital if they have any symptoms.
She said: “It is crucial that if you show symptoms of flu, regardless of how mild, that you avoid visiting patients in our hospitals wherever possible until your symptoms subside. The NHS Inform website offers good advice about managing flu symptoms at home.
“The best way to protect yourself against flu is to get vaccinated – if you are over 65, pregnant or have pre-existing health conditions then you are eligible to have the vaccination free at your local GP. Similarly, young children between 2-5 years are also eligible and those in primary education receive their vaccination at school.”
She added: “Even if you don’t fit into these categories and are otherwise healthy, you can get vaccinated at many local pharmacies across Fife for a small cost.”