Over 100 people hospitalised with the flu last week

Over 185 people admitted to hospital for influenza treatment since start of winter flu season

 More than 100 people were hospitalised with influenza last week, according to HSE figures. File photograph: AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Lara Solt

More than 100 people were hospitalised with influenza last week, according to HSE figures. File photograph: AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Lara Solt

 

More than 100 people were hospitalised with influenza last week as the winter flu season continues, according to the latest figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Some 114 people with the flu were hospitalised last week, the highest such figure since the flu season began in recent weeks. To date 186 people have been admitted to hospital for treatment for influenza since the beginning of the 2019/2020 flu season.

The highest hospitalisation rates were among young children and those over 65 years of age.

Nine flu patients have been admitted to intensive care units, all suffering from influenza A strains. Just in excess of half of those patients were aged 65 or older, according to a HSE press briefing.

There have been no deaths related to influenza to date this flu season.

The flu season hits as hospital emergency departments are already under intense pressure.

Some 2,200 more people attended emergency departments last week compared with the same period last year. However, the number of patients who were admitted into acute beds was down on figures from 2018.

The number of people waiting in emergency departments was higher than last year every single day since the start of November to December 3rd, according to Trolley Watch figures.

Waiting for beds

In the past seven days alone there was 661 more people waiting for hospital beds than in the same period last year, according to HSE figures.

More than 95 per cent of patients who attended emergency departments were either discharged or admitted to an acute bed within 24 hours, which is broadly the same rate as last year.

Since the start of the winter flu season there has been 12 respiratory disease outbreaks in healthcare facilities or settings, such as hospitals or nursing homes. Five of these outbreaks have been confirmed by the health service as flu outbreaks.

Advice from HSE officials on how to avoid spreading the flu includes covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and using your forearm rather than your hand when doing so. If people believe they are sick with a flu-like illness health officials advise them to stay at home.