COVID and flu will pose risks to the public again this winter, say health bosses in the region.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway say they are already seeing small localised clusters of covid cases in healthcare facilities.
And in some cases it may be necessary to introduce temporary changes to open visiting policies at short notice, in order to reduce the risk of spread of infection.
Meanwhile, they are suggesting a few simple steps that everyone can follow to help keep themselves and others safe.
Director of public health Valerie White said: “Fortunately, thanks to vaccination, the risk from covid is lowered, but it still exists – especially for people who, for one reason or another, are already vulnerable to infection. Flu can also be particularly dangerous for more vulnerable people.
“If you are planning to visit someone in hospital or a care home, please do it safely. Don’t visit if you have any symptoms of respiratory illness such as a cough, a sore throat or a high temperature. Make sure you follow proper hand hygiene precautions before, during and after your visit. And please follow any advice you get from staff – whether it concerns mask-wearing, distancing, or even a temporary suspension of visiting.
“It is also very important to make sure you protect yourself and your family at home. If you are entitled to a free covid or flu vaccination, please take it, and help any family members to get their vaccinations as well, this maximises protection against these illness.”
To find out more about vaccinations, visit www.nhsinform.scot/wintervaccines, or call the local helpline on 01387 403090.