Dumfries and Galloway ‘Aussie flu’ reassurance offered

Dumfries and Galloway has been highlighted as a "hotspot" for the strain

A health board which has seen a number of cases of “Aussie flu” has offered a public reassurance over its impact.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway said it was a “standard strain” which was historically commonplace in Scotland.

The H3N2 strain has been dubbed Aussie flu due to the problems it has recently caused in Australia.

Elaine Ross, of the region’s infection control team, said anyone who had been given a flu vaccination had a “good chance” of avoiding it.

Dumfries and Galloway was highlighted in recent newspaper reports as a “hotspot” for Aussie flu.

Ms Ross said they were awaiting information from Health Protection Scotland about the national picture and how the region compared with others.

She suggested the area may simply have been one of the first to be hit by a virus which was making its way through the UK.

“My sense is that it’s crept up from England, so I think it’s going to be a ‘temperature’ which is going to rise all over Scotland,” she said.

“The ‘Aussie flu’, H3N2, is the same strain that was circulating last year and is not unusual,” she added.

“These viruses spread very easily when groups of people congregate, as they do over the festive season.

“This year we have seen a large number of community cases of flu A and B admitted to hospital, including the strain H3N2.”

She said that the move to exclusively single bed rooms at the new Dumfries Infirmary meant there had been no cases of it being transferred from one patient to another.

Ms Ross added that anyone who had received a vaccination should develop immunity from strains including H3N2.

The health board has also offered general advice to anyone suffering from flu and how to help prevent its spread.

Flu vaccineImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe health board said it was not too late to get the flu vaccine

“It’s a case of taking simple painkillers to ease the aches and pains, and drinking plenty of fluids – make sure you avoid getting dehydrated,” said Ms Ross.

“If you already have the flu we’d advise people to follow the message ‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’.

“So if you are coughing, make sure you have plenty of paper tissues with you, and make sure you throw those away properly and then use alcohol hand rub – which works very well in helping to prevent the illness being spread.”

Anyone with the flu was advised not to go to hospital, however, or visit elderly or infirm relatives.

Ms Ross added that it was not too late to get the vaccine if wanted and it could be obtained via a pharmacy.