THE Balearic IB-Salut health service is preparing to respond to a flu epidemic with the number of New Year cases the highest for three years.
Hospitals are already 80 percent full and last week 46 cases of flu per 100'000 inhabitants were reported in the Balearics - the highest since 2005.
For the moment, the health service maintains that the flu levels are quite normal and hospitals can handle the current situation. However, with flu epidemics spreading across parts of the mainland, IB-Salut is taking the necessary precautions should the number of cases suffer a sudden increase.
The annual Balearic flu control campaign, which involves a network of health centres, doctors and nurses across the Balearics, has been up and running since October 1 but January and February are the crunch flu months.
The Director General for Public Health is controlling the flu operation and collating all the data it receives from the network of medical staff monitoring and handling the situation across the Balearics.
Should signs of an epidemic be detected, then the director general will decide what action should be taken.
Yesterday, IB-Salut sources repeated that anyone suffering from the first signs of flu should go to their local GP, health centre or call 061 and not head to their local hospital.
The health service also recommends that those suffering flu take plenty of rest, drink plenty of liquid, in particular juices and water, and that any medication should be prescribed by a doctor.
Those most at risk of catching flu are the elderly, young children and those with lung diseases.