Taking NHS advice can save many lives across Falkirk district

Want to know how you can help the frontline NHS staff in their battle against the spread of coronavirus? Stay at home!

By Kirsty Paterson
Thursday, 26th March 2020, 9:40 am

That’s the clear advice from NHS Forth Valley’s director of public health, Dr Graham Foster, who says that staying in the house and only going out when it’s absolutely necessary will save lives.

“I cannot emphasise enough how important this advice is and that by following it we will save lives,” said Dr Foster.

“You should only be going out if it is essential that you leave the house.

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“You can go out to exercise once a day but if you can exercise in the house that’s even better.

“You can go out for food but that doesn’t mean popping round to the corner shop three times a day!

“We can see what’s happening in Italy and in London, which is a couple of weeks ahead of us, and the one thing we can all do to stop us getting to that stage is stay at home!”

Deserted streets, quiet shops and closed public buildings show that people are finally heeding the now very clear instructions from government and the NHS.

And in Falkirk and across Forth Valley, there is still a chance to make sure that the huge peak in numbers doesn’t happen.

“That peak is not inevitable and there is still a chance we can delay and slow the spread but we all have to do our bit to help vulnerable people and save lives,” said Dr Foster.

He and his colleagues are hugely grateful to all of the NHS staff who are continuing to work throughout the crisis, as well as the many other people doing vital jobs in social care as well as retail and energy.

But those who are staying at home should not feel that they could be helping more.

“People are asking what they can do to help and that’s great but the very best way you can help just now is by staying at home,” said Dr Foster.

“The biggest thing you can do to support the NHS staff is just stay at home and follow the advice – that will reduce the pressure on GPs surgeries and on the acute hospital.

“We all want to thank them for their work but if we don’t stay at home and we allow the virus to spread then their hard work has all been for nothing.”

“The only way the disease can spread is from person to person so we have to stop it moving and that will stop us having a huge outbreak like Italy.

“It’s too late for Italy – it’s not too late for Forth Valley.”

While people naturally have questions and concerns about things such as looking after elderly relatives, taking care of pets and staying healthy most of the answers can be found at nhsinform.scot.

The reduction in numbers that the NHS is looking for will hopefully start to be noticeable in about two week’s time as the measures take effect.

If you do feel ill:

You must self-isolate at home.

You do not need a sick note from your doctor, you can download one from nhsinform.scot.

Do not go to hospital or your GP. If you need medical advice you should phone 111.

Call 111 if your symptoms worsen during home isolation, especially if you’re in a high or extremely high risk group; breathlessness develops or worsens, particularly if you’re in a high or extremely high risk group; or your symptoms haven’t improved in seven days.

If you have concerns about coronavirus and your question cannot be answered online there is a helpline number 0800 028 2816.