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As the summer draws to a close and schools prepare to return, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Chris Jones, is reminding people to stay at home and avoid contact with others if they are unwell and have a high temperature.

First published:
1 September 2023
Last updated:

Respiratory infections, like flu and COVID-19, can spread easily between people, with symptoms ranging from a continuous cough, fever or chills, muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise, a sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, diarrhoea and sickness.

COVID-19 has not gone away and continues to evolve and mutate. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Chris Jones said:

Respiratory infections spread easily between people at this time of year. It is important to be aware of symptoms so you can take action to reduce the risk of spreading your infection to other people.

We should all take sensible precautionary measures to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. If you’re feeling unwell you should avoid contact with others and tell people you have recently been in contact with, so they can be aware of signs or symptoms.

Frequent hand washing and covering your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing are also encouraged.

If you live with or are visiting someone with a chronic health condition or a weakened immune system, consider wearing a face mask and avoid visiting hospitals and care settings if you have symptoms.

Vaccination remains our key defence for flu and COVID-19. So if your eligible please take up your offer of a vaccine.

The autumn vaccination programme for Wales starts on 11 September. Vaccinations are to be rolled out to over 65s, at risk groups and those working or living with vulnerable people for flu and COVID-19.

Dr Christopher Johnson, Deputy Director of Health Protection and Head of Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme at Public Health Wales, said:

While COVID-19 may not be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, or may even be something that people would rather forget, it is important to remember that the virus is still with us. 

There are simple but important steps that everyone can take to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the NHS, especially as we see increased social mixing as schools return, and an increase in numbers. 

If you feel unwell, stay home and avoid contact with others, as you would to avoid spreading any other respiratory infection, like flu. 

When you cough or sneeze, do so into a disposable tissue, and wash your hands frequently to avoid passing on germs. Special care should be taken around vulnerable or elderly people, so avoid contact with these if you are ill. 

And of course, please take up the offer of a COVID-19 and flu vaccine if you are offered them. These are the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus and protect yourself, your family, and to help the NHS.