People feeling ill have been told to put themselves into isolation and celebrate Christmas when they are feeling better in a bid to prevent the spread of winter bugs such as flu or norovirus.

According to statistics, British hospitals are now 95 per cent full and doctors fear that situation is only going to get worse when GP surgeries close down for the festive period, meaning more patients are likely to present at accident and emergency departments.

Medics are now urging people who have flu or the winter vomiting bug to put off get togethers with family and friends until they are feeling better, rather than risk passing it on to others.

Last week, more than 374,000 people went to accident and emergency, and 900 hospital beds are currently out of action across the country to contain outbreaks of norovirus, which can be fatal to the old, vulnerable or already ill.

Use common sense

Thirty six casualty departments have had to send ambulances away because they were too busy to deal with any more patients. Officials are now urging people to use common sense if they are feeling poorly over the Christmas break.

Public Health England’s Nick Phin said people who were sick should not meet up with relatives, instead self isolating if they had flu or symptoms of a stomach bug. He also said they should not go to their family doctor unless they were still poorly after five days.

Meanwhile, the NHS was saying that people should use common sense about who they saw if they were unwell, taking special care when it came to those who are vulnerable, babies, the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses.

Patients are being urged to stay away from casualty unless they really need to go, instead seeking help and advice from their pharmacist or the 111 helpline.