Swine flu advice is sound

SIR – Regarding A pigs ear of flu advice? Congratulations to the WHT on its Lifestyle (August 19), swine flu twist article and to those surgeries banning magazine stocks on department of health advice. But this only goes part way to tackle the universal

SIR - Regarding 'A pigs ear of flu advice?'

Congratulations to the WHT on its Lifestyle (August 19), swine flu twist article and to those surgeries banning magazine stocks on department of health advice.

But this only goes part way to tackle the universal problem of preventing the passing on of infections diseases.

The well publicised slogan in World War Two was 'coughs and sneezes spread diseases - trap the germs in your handkerchief' and was reinforced by a propaganda film showing the germs from one 'not bless you - curse you' sneezer spreading round a munitions factory and halting vital wartime production.


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Instead of handkerchiefs nowadays people cling to soggy tissues, others will politely sneeze into their hands, while too many others will make no effort at all to avoid their gems spreading to others around them.

The Lifestyle factfile named and hopefully shamed those surgeries which have not stopped providing magazines for patients' use.

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I regret that my own surgery does not appear to have done so either. I shall not name it because over the last 20 years my wife and I have received excellent and caring attention from the doctors and nurses and usually co-operative and friendly assistance from administrative staff.

Surprisingly, although there are clear and emphatic messages on the front doors to possible sufferers from swine flu, I have seen just one colourful but small leaflet on just one waiting room wall warning about 'coughs and sneezes', but with not easily read smaller print urging suitable precautions.

After a five-day wait I finally got to speak to the practice manager (by phone only! - whatever happened to the Patients Charter and complaint procedures?) to discuss possible ways of requesting and persuading patients to cover up sensibly when sneezing or coughing. The surgery appeared to recognise the problem and ready to take some action, but since then nothing seems to have been done.

This apparent complacency, possibly by most surgeries, should be of concern. Waiting patients, weakened by other medical problems, in sometimes crowded rooms are sitting ducks for germs seeking new victims and carriers.

Surely sensible prevention should be taken now before the next stronger alternative to swine flu is upon us?

Brian Bennett,

The Ryde, Hatfield.

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