Cookies on The Nenagh Guardian website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the The Nenagh Guardian website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
Hide Message
  • News

Rise in flu and respiratory illnesses in Mid West

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 2:16pm
Jump to comments
Rise in flu and respiratory illnesses in Mid West
Rise in flu and respiratory illnesses in Mid West

Attendances at the Emergency Department at UHL increased in the week ending January 6th and are expected to rise further in the coming weeks.

High volumes of elderly patients with medical conditions, in particular respiratory conditions, have been presenting in recent days and the number of flu cases has also begun to rise. UL Hospitals Group continues to work closely with HSE Mid West Community Healthcare through the Mid West Winter Action Team to meet increased demand for services in the acute and community settings.

There were 1,301 attendances to the ED at UHL between December 24th and December 30th and this rose to 1,343 attendances in the seven-day period December 31st to January 6th.

The Christmas/New Year period has also proven busy for the Injury Units at St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh hospitals. Between December 24th and January 1st there were a total of 790 attendances to the three units combined, an aggregate increase of 6.5%. The numbers attending at Ennis were 245 (-18); at Nenagh 251 (+21) and at St John’s 294 (+45).

Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said: “The hospital is currently operating at capacity and all available surge capacity is in use. Initiatives introduced under the winter plan  - such as expanding our Acute Medical Assessment Unit and increasing access to diagnostics in the evenings – have assisted in terms of patient flow. Additional lists  for emergency surgery have proven to be of great benefit as there was a significant number of trauma presentations over the Christmas/New Year period.

“We are currently seeing a high number of frail elderly patients with complex medical needs who require admission. Respiratory conditions and flu are on the increase and people attending the Emergency Department can regrettably expect long waits in many instances as the sickest patients are prioritised. It is encouraging to see the overall increase in attendances to our Injury Units this year as they are the best option for appropriate cases. However, people who are seriously injured or ill should continue to come to the Emergency Department, where they will receive the appropriate care,” Ms Cowan said.

She also encouraged members of the public to get the flu vaccination from their GP or pharmacist.

“Over the last month, there have been over 30 patients with influenza admitted across UL Hospitals Group, with a number of patients seriously unwell. The vaccine this year is a good match for the circulating strains, including H1N1, and we are encouraging members of the public to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting the vaccine. Anyone who is concerned about flu-like symptoms should contact their GP or out-of-hours service in the first instance and anyone who does present to hospital with flu-like symptoms should immediately notify our staff so that appropriate precautions can be taken,” Ms Cowan said.


It's not too late to get your flu vaccine -
The HSE has urged all people in at-risk groups for the flu to get vaccinated if they have not done so already. Those in at-risk groups include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic illness. Healthcare workers should also get the vaccine to protect themselves and those that they care for.
HSE’s AND for Public Health and Director of HPSC, Dr Kevin Kelleher, explains that data shows that flu levels are likely to increase over the coming weeks when flu begins to actively circulate in the community. However, this year’s flu vaccine is a good match for circulating strains and the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu:
“Flu is now beginning to circulate, and as schools reopen and people return to work we are likely to see increased levels. The predominant strain currently circulating is H1N1, which is affecting younger age groups more than strains that have circulated in previous years. This year’s vaccine is a good match for circulating strains and it is not too late to get the vaccine.”
“While most people will get better themselves from flu, anyone who is concerned about their condition should telephone their GP or an out of hours medical service so they can arrange to be treated in a way that does not put others at risk. People with symptoms should stay at home and children should not attend school if showing signs of flu.”
For information and tips on dealing with and preventing the transmission of flu visit the HSE website
Seasonal influenza surveillance reports are available at the Health Protection Surveillance Centre website -


Keep up-to-date with the latest news from around the county with an epaper subscription from €2.20*