Northern Ireland

People are urged to use hand gels

Washing hands
Image caption Many people do not have water to wash their hands

With the flu season under way and a shortage of water, the public is being advised to use hand gels and wipes in an attempt to ward off infection.

Doctors' surgeries are busy as more people are succumbing to the flu virus.

The BMA's Dr Michael McKenna, whose surgery on the Belfast's Falls Road was without water on Thursday morning, said the public must be sensible.

He urged anyone with flu-like symptoms to stay at home and especially not to visit hospitals.

"In this instance, where people cannot wash their hands, there's an obvious impact in terms of risk of spread (of infection)," he said.

"To try and minimise that, we'd ask people to use the hand sanitizers."

The Public Health Agency has said people should use only bottled water for drinking and brushing their teeth.

However, it warned that some types of bottled water may not be suitable for making up infant formula because of high salt levels.

Instead, people are advised to use boiled water and make up the baby's feed in the usual way.