The ward, which was closed as of yesterday (18th February) has 10 patients confirmed as having the flu virus.
The virus, which is very infectious and can easily be passed on makes people feel much worse than if they have an ordinary cold. Symptoms of flu are a sudden onset of fever, shivering, headache, dry cough and aching muscles and joints. You may feel ill and have a temperature for up to a week. You could also feel weak and in low spirits for several weeks longer.
Dr Adam Brown, Consultant Microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “During the winter it is quite common for there to be illnesses such as flu. We know that it is out there in the community and it is likely it has been brought into the hospital.
“As well as restricting visiting to the affected ward we are also asking people not to come to the hospital to visit if they have had flu until at least seven days after the onset of symptoms. By doing this we will be able to limit the spread as much as possible.
“Hospital staff will of course be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are.”
There is no specific treatment for flu and it is not usually necessary to visit a doctor. The best course of action is to stay at home, keep warm and rest. Take painkillers such as paracetamol to help with symptoms and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Pharmacists are also able to give advice on the control of your symptoms.
People should also adhere to strict hand washing techniques to reduce the spread of the virus.
The public can help to minimise the spread by following some simple rules:-
• Do not visit a hospital if you or someone you live with has symptoms until at least seven days after symptoms started. If you have a hospital appointment, please get in touch and, where appropriate, your appointment can be rescheduled.
• Good standards of personal hygiene will help to prevent passing the virus on. Use paper tissues to blow your nose and put them in the bin straight after use. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after sneezing and using tissues.
Dr Ken Oates, Consultant in Public Health and Flu Immunisation Co-ordinator at NHS Highland, said: “It is not too late for those who have not received their flu jab to do so. If you are in an ‘at risk’ group then it’s very important to ensure that you are protected from the virus as you can suffer from serious complications if you do catch flu.
“We would like to urge all remaining local people who are eligible for the flu jab to make an appointment with your GP to get the free vaccination as soon as you can.”
If you would like to find out more information about the flu jab, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or log on to www.immunisationscotland.org.uk.