Flu and Covid currently circulating at high levels and cases reported to soar in coming weeks: warns UK Health Security Agency
Monday 2 January 2023 10:02 PM UTC
LONDON Jan 2: As pupils and students return to school this week following the Christmas break, the UK Health Security Agency is reminding people that winter illnesses continue to circulate at high levels.
Flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) are currently circulating at high levels and are likely to continue to increase in coming weeks. High numbers of scarlet fever, which is caused by group A streptococcus, also continue to be reported.
The advice, put simply, is to keep children with a fever at home and away from school and nursery in a bid to stifle the spread of such bugs. Adults should also stay indoors if they feel poorly, and revert to pandemic times of wearing a mask if they have to go out. They should also avoid visiting vulnerable relatives and friends until they are feeling better – with the only exception being in an emergency.
Let’s spread the love this festive season…not the flu. 🎁🥂🎆🥳
It comes as cases of Strep A have become rampant this season, with the Government recording 33,836 from September 19 to Christmas Day. This is a staggering increase from 4.672 in the last “comparably high season” – winter 2017 and into 2018.
Government health experts have told parents not to send their kids to school if they feel unwell and have a fever, amid high levels of flu, COVID-19 and scarlet fever. UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says winter illnesses “continue to circulate at high levels” in urgent advice.
The agency issued the advice as pupils prepare to go back to school following the Christmas break. Flu and COVID-19 are currently circulating at high levels and “are likely to continue to increase in coming weeks”, the experts said.
High numbers of scarlet fever also continue to be reported. Prof Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at UKHSA, said: “It’s important to minimise the spread of infection in schools and other education and childcare settings as much as possible.
“If your child is unwell and has a fever, they should stay home from school or nursery until they feel better and the fever has resolved. Helping children to learn about the importance of good hand hygiene is also key, so practice regular handwashing at home with soap and warm water.
“Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues then binning them is another simple way to help stop illness from spreading. Adults should also try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wear a face covering. When unwell don’t visit healthcare settings unless urgent, or visit vulnerable people.
“Remember that flu vaccination is still available for all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus. We have seen good uptake in older age groups but vaccination among young children remains low.
“Flu can be very unpleasant and in some cases can lead to more serious illness. Getting your child vaccinated protects them and others they come into contact with, and it’s still not too late.”