The UK Health Insurance Agency (UKHSA) has warned that the rates of Covid, flu and strep A they are likely to increase when the children return to school this week.
Children who feel unwell and have a fever should not go to school, while adults who are sick should stay home, UKHSA advice says.
If adults need to go out, they should wear a face mask, avoid healthcare settings, and not visit vulnerable people.
while the tip It’s not mandatory, underscores concerns among experts that a “twin demic” of Covid and flu is putting hospitals under the greatest strain since the height of the pandemic.
The UKHSA advice is part of the government’s response to the deepening NHS winter crisis, with health leaders warning that up to 500 people a week are dying due to delays in A&E departments.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has been in regular talks with NHS chiefs about the crisis, while Rishi Sunak prepares to announce new plans to boost emergency care later this month. But critics have demanded that the government act sooner to rein it in.
The latest figures show there are 3,746 hospitalized flu patients, up from 520 at the end of November. After a drop in cases over the fall, Covid rates are also rising. There were 9,459 people in the hospital with Covid last week.
Rates of scarlet fever, which is caused by Streptococcus A bacterial infectionthey are at their highest this winter for several years.
UKHSA said parents could minimize the spread of Covid, flu and strep A in schools by keeping sick children out of school, practicing regular handwashing with soap and water and using clean cough and handkerchiefs. colds.
Professor Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said: “It is important to minimize the spread of infection in schools and other childcare and education settings as much as possible. If your child is unwell and has a fever, he should stay home from school or day care until he feels better and the fever is gone.
“Helping children learn about the importance of good hand hygiene is also key, so practice regular hand washing at home with soap and warm water. Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and then throwing them away is another simple way to help stop the spread of disease.
“Adults should also try to stay home when they are not feeling well, and if they have to go out, wear a face covering. When you are not feeling well, do not visit health care facilities or visit vulnerable people unless it is urgent.
“Remember that the flu vaccine is still available to all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus. We have seen good uptake in the older age groups, but vaccination among young children remains low.
“The flu can be very unpleasant and, in some cases, can lead to more serious illness. Vaccinating their child protects them and others they come into contact with, and it’s still not too late.”
The Department of Health insisted that the Government was “working tirelessly to ensure people receive the care they need, supported by up to £14bn in additional funding for health and social care over the next two years”.
A spokesperson added: “This winter, the government has provided an extra £500m to speed up hospital discharge and free up beds, and the NHS is creating the equivalent of at least 7,000 more beds to help cut A&E waits and bring back ambulances. . path.
“We are supporting and growing the health and social care workforce through training and recruitment campaigns at home and abroad, and there are a record number of staff working for the NHS, including 9,300 more nurses and almost 4,000 more doctors compared to September 2021.”
But shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said half of the £500m delayed discharge fund had yet to be allocated to trusts, adding: “It’s maddening to see incompetence add to an already serious”.
The Labor MP called it “completely inexplicable why, given today’s headlines, given what we have seen over Christmas and into the new year, not a single government minister, be it the Prime Minister, the Health Secretary, has raised their head or stuck their heads in to say exactly what they are doing to control this crisis.”