Dundee and Tayside is currently one of the UK’s worst-hit areas for influenza.
The number of people suffering from flu has more than doubled compared to the same period last year, increasing pressure on hospitals, new figures show.
So far 48 people have died as a result of the bug, a rise from the 23 recorded last week.
A heat map reveals the worst hit areas of the UK with the number of cases of flu in Dundee and Tayside among the highest in Scotland. Only Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway and the Outer Hebrides have a situation as serious, as shown by the red on the map.
The FluSurvey map reveals that around 46 Scots in every 100,000 were suffering from the virus during the last week in December 2017, up from 22 in every 100,000 for the same week in 2016, according to latest Health Protection Scotland (HPS) data.
Health Minister Shona Robison said: “Health staff across Scotland are dedicated to helping patients and are doing a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. These figures show once again the challenges they are tackling.
“So far the vaccine is proving to be effective against the most commonly encountered flu strains this season although it is still too early to have a complete picture, but there’s no doubt that the increase in cases, particularly affecting people with complex and multiple conditions, is putting increased pressure on our systems.
“This is contributing to a big rise in demand for NHS services that staff are responding to.”
Dr Jackie Hyland, consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Tayside, has shared some tips on how to look after yourself at home if you are suffering from the flu or a flu-like illnesses.
“There are many bugs and viruses currently circulating in the community, including flu, and therefore to help reduce the spread of infection, members of the public are being asked to avoid visiting their friends and relatives in hospitals if they are suffering from respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms themselves. This will help reduce the spread of illness amongst patients and staff.
“People can also reduce the chance of picking up infections by washing their hands regularly, using tissues for coughs and sneezes and disposing of tissues in the bin.
“If you have flu, you generally start to feel ill within a few days of being infected but you should begin to feel much better within a week or so.
“The main symptoms of flu include a high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above, tiredness and weakness, a headache, general aches and pains and 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 may have.
“The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary.
“Stay off work or school until you’re feeling better. For most people, this will take about a week.”
She advises folk to consider visiting your GP if:
• you’re 65 years of age or over
• you’re pregnant
• you have a long-term medical condition – such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease or a neurological disease
• you have a weakened immune system – for example, because you’re having chemotherapy or have HIV
• you develop chest pain, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or start coughing up blood
• your symptoms are getting worse over time or haven’t improved after a week