A SOUTHAMPTON hospital has pledged to tackle flu this winter.

All 282 members of staff at Southampton NHS Treatment Centre – both clinical and administrative – have been given the offer of a free flu vaccination, and patients and visitors are being encouraged to get vaccinated before they visit the hospital.

The care team at Southampton NHS Treatment Centre advises people to take action if they experience the early signs of flu, which include a cough, sore throat, general aches and pains and a fever of above 38ºC.

Andrew Oakerbee, acting hospital director at NHS Treatment Centre said: "If you’re due for surgery it is safe to have your flu jab beforehand, provided it is at least two weeks before you are due to come to hospital.

“We are encouraging all our patients and visitors to be vaccinated before they visit us, and we have offered every single member of staff a free flu shot.

"This way, we aim to avoid flu throughout the busy winter period so that we avoid unnecessary cancellations of procedures.”

It is safe to have a flu vaccination after surgery, but the advice is to leave it for at least two weeks after discharge.

The team at the hospital have advised ways to "fend off" flu starting with getting vaccinated.

Many people qualify for a free flu vaccination, but even if you do not the costs are not prohibitive and are a good investment for a flu-free winter.

They also advise that people wash their hands regularly especially after coming into contact with someone with flu.

Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing – a sneeze or a cough can spread the flu virus further than you might think.

If you have used a tissue, put it in the bin immediately and clean your hands with a sanitiser afterwards and wherever possible, avoid sharing crockery, cutlery and towels with other people.

Make sure that surfaces in frequent use, such as phones, keyboards and door handles, are cleaned regularly to avoid spreading the flu virus.

If you have flu symptoms, stay at home to avoid spreading the virus. Mild flu or cold symptoms can be treated at home.