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Residents urged to take some simple yet crucial steps to protect themselves from winter illnesses

Health protection

10 January 2023

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Residents are urged to take some simple yet crucial steps to protect themselves, families and friends from an increased risk of flu, Covid-19 and Scarlet Fever currently circulating in communities across Northamptonshire.

Winter illnesses are continuing to spread countywide following the Christmas break, with local health services under significant pressure due to a rising demand for emergency care.

Public Health officials at West and North Northamptonshire Councils are encouraging residents to follow national health guidance to help reduce the risk of infection by taking the following steps:

  • This may seem obvious, but the simplest, most effective ways to avoid catching and spreading viruses are regular handwashing and covering your nose or mouth when you sneeze or cough. Don’t forget - Catch it, Bin it, Kill it. Wash hands thoroughly with soap using running water then dry them. Sanitising your hands after coughing or sneezing should only be used as a short-term alternative to thoroughly washing your hands.
  • Vaccination is the best protection against avoidable illnesses such as Flu or COVID-19 and residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated if eligible. Children are eligible for a free flu vaccination including those currently age 2 upwards until the end of primary school age, and secondary school children in years 7 to 9. 
  • If your child is unwell and has a fever, you are advised to keep them at home until the fever has passed and they feel better. During this time your child should avoid attending school, nursery, a childminder or having contact with any other person outside the household.
  • If you have a high temperature and do not feel well enough to carry out normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you no longer feel unwell.
  • If you are unwell and have been asked to attend a hospital, GP or dental appointment in person, contact your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms before attending. Please do not attend a high-risk setting such as a care home or nursing home until you no longer feel unwell.
  • If you need to leave the house while unwell, national guidance recommends a face covering is worn at all times to help reduce the spread of infections.
Hands are the gateway that viruses use to enter your body, for example touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds kills most germs which aren’t killed by sanitiser, including those responsible for norovirus, the sickness and diarrhoea bug.
Professor John Ashton, Interim Director of Public Health at North Northamptonshire Council
It’s so important we all do everything we can to reduce the spread of infection and we are urging all residents to take these simple but important steps and including them in their daily routines if they are not already doing so already.

This guidance may sound obvious to many people but is often overlooked and if followed routinely will make a huge difference to curbing the spread of infections and ultimately, the health of yourself and your loved ones.
Sally Burns, Director of Public Health at West Northamptonshire Council

If you have a health concern that is not an emergency, please seek advice from NHS 111 in the first instance and consider all options before attending A&E.

For further information on symptoms and advice on the following infections, please click on the links provided: 

Scarlet Fever