Private Business Intermediaries

Busiest time for ambulances expected to continue

20/12/2012 | By Daniel Tamarjan
After one of the busiest weeks ever for the ambulance services in England, with up to 30% increase in calls, the situation is likely to continue over Christmas, warns Peter Bradley, the national director of ambulance services.

The coldest start to a winter for 30 years brought not only an expected outbreak of flu but also a significant increase in the number of winter vomiting norovirus cases and other respiratory infections. This has already stretched the ambulance services and the A&E departments to the maximum. People should try to call 999 only where there is a genuine emergency, warns a senior NHS executive according to the Guardian.

Although it is impossible to completely prevent the spread of these viruses, especially the common cold, there are few things you can do to significantly reduce the chances of you or your family becoming infected:
  • Wash your hands. As simple as it sounds, many of us forget to do it or don’t do it often enough. It is one of the best ways to prevent transmission of colds and it can quickly destroy bacteria and viruses acquired from touching surfaces especially in busy public places. The recently celebrated Global Hand Washing Day is trying to raise awareness about the importance of this hygienic habit.
  • Avoid touching your face. Touching your face especially your nose, mouth and eyes when you are around someone with a cold is a direct path for the germs to enter your body
  • Use disposable items or thoroughly wash any cups and glassware if someone in your family is infected. Sharing a cup or a glass can accidentally spread a virus within your family especially when young children are involved who may try to drink from others’ cups.
  • Keep household surfaces clean.  Light switches, tables, door knobs, sinks and keyboards are the perfect surfaces in your house through which colds can spread. Viruses can survive for hours on the surfaces used by an infected person. Always try to wipe them frequently with soap and water or a disinfectant solution.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, physical exercise and good sleep will improve your immune system and help you fight any viruses if an infection occurs. 
  • Control your stress levels. Recent studies have shown that people experiencing emotional stress are more predisposed to different infections because their immune system is weakened.