As hospitals coming under increasing pressure after the festive break, people are being asked to help stop the spread of the flu and norovirus bugs and in turn minimise disruption to local services.

The flu virus strikes in winter and it can be far more serious than you think, says the NHS in Dorset.

Flu can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and it can be deadly, that’s why the flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk. Find more information at

Having the vaccination will protect you against flu and will also mean you’ll avoid passing the virus on to people who might be more at risk from complications, such as older people, children, and people with long-term medical conditions.

Unless it is essential, if you have symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting do not visit hospital or any healthcare setting until you have been clear of symptoms for 72 hours.

If you are due for an appointment, call the number on your appointment letter to rearrange to a different date and time.

People who are due to visit hospital for a planned procedure or operation and have been unwell with any kind of sickness, diarrhoea or flu like symptoms are asked to ring the hospital in advance.

Thorough hand washing with soap and water can help stop the spread of bugs. Using alcohol gel by itself will not work.

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