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'Avoid visiting hospital' plea after flu cases rise

20 cases have been reported at the Princess of Wales Hospital. Credit: Google Maps Image

Health bosses say they're seeing a significant increase in confirmed flu cases in hospitals in Wales.

Most of the cases are in the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, but there are also cases in both Morriston and Singleton hospital in Swansea.

ABMU health board is urging people with flu-like illnesses to avoid visiting hospital wards in case the infection spreads to patients:

Please avoid visiting unless you really need to, and if you have a flu-like illness please stay away from our wards in case the infection is spread to patients.

To avoid catching flu, wash your hands frequently, and ensure you've had your flu jab if you are in an at-risk group.

Flu vaccines are not perfect, but they remain the single best way to protect against flu. Having a flu jab 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.

This season’s vaccine does contain protection against the H3N2 strain of flu, one of the main types which have been circulating in Australia. The vaccine also offers protection against most other strains of flu currently circulating in Wales.

Flu vaccines are developed well in advance of the flu season, based on viruses that had recently been circulating at that time. However flu viruses are unpredictable. They mutate and change, and some strains may dominant over others. Additional factors like patients’ ages may also affect the degree of protection a particular vaccine offers.

So because of these varying factors, it is not possible to produce a vaccine that is 100% effective.

But having a free flu jab remains a very sensible choice for people in at-risk groups, and for those over the age of 65. The protection the vaccine offers, even limited, is still well worth having.

Remember, flu is not just a heavy cold. It can be a very serious and sometimes life-threatening illness - so having a flu jab could really make a difference.

– Spokesperson for ABMU Health Board