DOCTORS across Dorset are advising people with flu-like symptoms to stay at home if they can.

In particular, they are asking people with flu not to turn up at hospital emergency departments as this can spread flu to patients and hospital staff.

Paula Shobbrook, director of infection prevention at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, said: "Flu is highly infectious and with numbers increasing in the community, the cooperation of members of the public in helping to reduce the spread of this is really helpful.

"The emergency departments in Dorset are extremely busy so if you’re feeling unwell, please follow the advice and only come to hospital if it is an emergency, otherwise you could be putting already ill people at real risk."

If anyone thinks they have flu and are concerned or have an underlying medical condition, they can phone NHS 111 for help and advice.

If NHS 111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they'll arrange for one to be sent. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

The NHS Choices website provides advice on a wide range of illnesses, as will local pharmacists.