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Health Agency Urges Adults to Wear Face Masks When Ill

Health Agency Urges Adults to Wear Face Masks When Ill
03 January 2023

Guidance issued by the UK Health Security Agency states that adults suffering from respiratory illnesses should wear face masks if they have to leave home.

Amidst high levels of flu and COVID-19 and winter pressure on the NHS, adults suffering from coughs and colds should wear face coverings or ideally stay at home, to minimise the spread of illness in and protect wider communities.

Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), issued the advice as students return to school after the Christmas break, and many return to workplaces too.

She said: “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 or visit vulnerable people unless urgent.”

Face coverings can reduce the number of particles containing viruses that are released from the mouth and nose of someone who is infected with a respiratory infection. They can also protect the person wearing the face covering from becoming infected by some viruses.

Professor Hopkins also recommended that those caring for children should help them to learn about regular hand washing, and catching coughs and sneezes in tissues.


Face Masks to Help NHS Winter Pressure


Between 12 December and 18 December 2022,  the overall number of reported COVID-19 confirmed outbreaks increased compared to the previous week, as did COVID-19 hospitalisations and ICU admissions.

In a statement from Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, pressures on NHS staff are described as “unbearable.” He continued: “It seems likely that the next three months will be defined by further critical incidents needing to be declared and the quality of care being compromised.

“Some of our members have said their ward staffing numbers are now below minimum levels as they work hard to set up more escalation spaces to support arrivals from ambulances, that they have had instances where their oxygen cylinders have ran out temporarily, and that some of their patients have waited over two days for a bed.“

"High rates of flu and COVID which have more than doubled, ongoing issues with delayed hospital discharges which is leaving over 12,000 medically fit patients stuck in hospital, and the aftershock of industrial action are compounding the longer-term issues of over 130,000 NHS vacancies, a decade-long lack of investment in capital and an elective backlog which continues to grow past 7 million people.”

Picture: a photograph of a person wearing a face covering, standing outside of a building with a revolving door entrance. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 03 January 2023


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