The warning comes after a number of confirmed flu cases on the wards of Scarborough Hospital, which 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.”
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.
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.”