Advice from Tallaght University Hospital and Community Services on staying healthy this Christmas
(December 21st 2022) Between COVID-19, flu and winter bugs the Hospital is particularly busy this winter leading to lengthy waits in the Emergency Department. The following offers some advice on how to avoid getting sick this winter and what to do if you do become unwell.
The Emergency Department will always be open 24x7 but those presenting with non-life threatening illnesses will at times have long waits to be seen. Please read the following to know how to stay well and what to do if someone becomes unwell.
Prevention is better that cure – how to stay healthy and stop the spread of infection
Dr. Susanna Frost, Clinical Microbiologist, Tallaght University Hospital
"Viral infections become more common at different times of the year. In particular, respiratory tract infections and norovirus (winter vomiting virus) are most common in winter and early spring. First and foremost we recommend getting the flu vaccine. Find out more on www.hse.ie/flu
If you develop any flu-like symptoms or any unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea, stay at home, ensure that you are drinking plenty of fluids and if you have any concerns contact your GP. We all learned the importance of hand hygiene during COVID-19. It is still important to help stop catching and passing on colds, flu and norovirus. Washing your hands regularly with warm water and soap is a simple but effective way to stop the spread of infection. People with these viruses are infectious before they get symptoms so their hands might be contaminated with viruses before you know you are sick."
If you are unwell with a cold or flu you can prevent it spreading to others when you cough or sneeze by:
- coughing and sneezing into your elbow
- covering your nose and mouth with a tissue throwing away the tissue
- and then washing your hands
Prepare: Know where to go when you are ill
By Prof. Peter Lavin, Lead Clinical Director, Tallaght University Hospital
The Emergency Department (ED) will always prioritise treatment and care for the sickest patients and those with life threatening illnesses. For those who are not in need of urgent attention, Injury Units or your GP may provide more appropriate healthcare in a more comfortable setting.
However there may be a few other options for you;
Visit your local pharmacy for advice on treating the common cold
See your family doctor for all non-urgent illness
The doctor out of hours service is a high quality clinical service for urgent care
There are now Injury Units across the city in Dublin providing a range of services to both adults and children. Most of these units are open 12 hours a day and seven days a week although there may be some local variation in opening times. All of these injury units can treat a wide range of injuries such as broken bones, dislocations, sprains and strains, minor burns and scalds. All units have access to x-ray and basic diagnostic services. For more information see www.hse.ie/injuryunits
EDs treat seriously ill patients. Those with less severe injuries and symptoms will have to wait to be seen in the ED. See below for further information.
Advice for Patients Attending ED this Winter: Help us - Help You
If you or a family member or friend need to go to the ED in an emergency, there are some things you can do to help us to take care of you.
√ Bring all your medicines with you as well as a list of the medications that you are taking
√ Bring your GPs contact details and any referral letter given to you. We may not have immediate access to your medical records externally so the more information that you bring with you, the better equipped we will be to assess your needs
√ Remember to tell us if you have any allergies
√ If you wear glasses or use a hearing aid then please bring them with you so we can communicate with you
√ If you use medical devices such a sleep apnoea machine, walking frame etc – please bring them with you so that your treatment can be continued
√ If you have difficulties speaking English, please bring someone who can help us communicate with you. We can organise a translator but this is not always possible out of hours
√ Please remember EDs are busy places that deal with a wide variety of emergencies and space can be limited. You are welcome to have one person with you in the Dept but it is not always possible for them to remain during busy periods.
√ Dealing with your illness is important to us. Please let us know if you are in pain or discomfort so that we can address this promptly
From all of us at TUH, we wish you a happy and healthy Christmas.
The TLCDOC GP Out of Hours Service is an urgent out of hours family doctor service operating in the Dublin South West Area. TLC Doc is located Unit H2 Carbury Building, Tallaght Cross West, Tallaght, Dublin 24. Eircode D24FKT7.
Contact with the service can only be made by dialling the 1890 20 22 24 number. The service is available to patients of GP’s participating in the TLCDOC Out of Hours Service. If, on contacting the service, you need to be seen by a doctor, you will be given an appointment time.
To enable them to maintain a quality service and ensure patients are seen promptly, Please Remember the following:
The service is not a walk-in service. It is by appointment only
The first point of contact with the service is through the 1890 20 22 24 number
The service should only be used for urgent cases that cannot wait for the next routine surgery appointment
We are urging people to ensure that they get their prescriptions filled so that they have enough medication over the holiday season
We would also urge people to have their medicine cabinets or first aid boxes sufficiently stocked to treat minor ailments at home
TLC DOC Telephone 1890 20 22 24