Date Published: 30 December 2010
UK Campaign to remind people to help prevent spread of flu
To try to reduce the spread of flu, the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it campaign will launch in the form of national press and radio adverts from Saturday, according to a recent accouncement by UK Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.
The campaign, which reminds people to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene, comes in response to today's figures from the Health Protection Agency that show that cases of flu continue to rise. Cases of people in critical care beds with suspected or confirmed flu have also increased this week to 738, including 42 under 5's.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:
I'd like to thank NHS staff for all their hard work over the Christmas period and through the very difficult weather conditions we have been experiencing. NHS staff have been under huge pressures but their commitment and quality of care has shone through.
But it's not over yet there are still considerable pressures due to the cold weather and the rising cases of flu.
To help ease pressures on the NHS I want to remind people what we can all do to prevent the spread of flu. The first line of defence against flu is to be vaccinated I urge everyone in an at risk group who hasn't been vaccinated to contact their GP and book an appointment.
The second line of defence is to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene to cover our nose and mouth when we sneeze, put tissues in the bin and wash our hands regularly. That's why we're re-launching the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it campaign from this Saturday.
The third line of defence is a well prepared NHS with the ability to treat those who do need help. Thanks to robust early planning, the NHS is coping well with the pressures of seasonal flu this year.
The use of the highly specialised ECMO treatment - extracorporeal membrane oxygenation which provides both cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are not working properly, has stabilised since last week. This year, ECMO treatment has been used more widely, with the number of patients who can be dealt with at any one time having increased. The UK is now well ahead of the United States on the number of beds per head of population and is in line with what Germany offers.
The Chief Medical Officer has also asked the Government's independent expert advisors on vaccination to review all the latest data and reassure the Government that the vaccination programme as currently recommended, is the right one.
Interim Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies said:
I have asked the independent panel of experts on vaccination the JCVI to look at the new data that has emerged around this year's flu season and reassure us that our policy on vaccination is correct.
" The JCVI is meeting later today and I will advise the Health Secretary accordingly.I'd like to remind people that influenza, or flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to serious illness or even death. Anyone can get flu, but some groups are more vulnerable than others. I strongly recommend that pregnant women, and people who are in at risk groups, including children, contact their GP or practice nurse now, to ensure they are given their seasonal flu vaccination.
Source: UK Dept Health - from Press Release.