HEALTH bosses have revealed that the number of people in hospital beds suffering from flu has slightly dropped over the last week.
The figures, which cover the North-East and are not localised into any health trusts, show that 57 people are currently in "critical" care beds compared to 58 the previous week.
Dr Tricia Cresswell, deputy medical director at NHS North East said: "We are continuing to see a number of people seriously ill with flu in critical care. Although the NHS in the region is under pressure, not only from flu but from an increase in urgent admissions due to other conditions, the system is very well prepared and coping well.
"We are actively managing critical care on a day-to-day basis and additional capacity is in place to care for both flu patients and all others who are seriously ill and require urgent critical care."
The level of flu circulating in the community remains quite high but has started to level off. The NHS is keen to stress that only a small number of those affected become seriously ill with most people recovering well.
Anyone who thinks they may have flu (high temperature, headache, muscular pains) and are normally fit and healthy, is advised to stay at home, rest, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol-based cold remedies.
If symptoms are worsening after two to three days then contact your local GP by phone. People are being urged not to go to A&E with flu symptoms.