Advice on Norovirus this winter
News from our local NHS Trusts
People planning to visit hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Shropshire are being asked to stay away if they have experienced any symptoms of Norovirus.
Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common stomach bug in the UK. It is highly contagious and can affect people of all ages.
The number of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting recorded in the community normally increases at this time of year and it is particularly important that people help to prevent the spread of these illnesses, especially to vulnerable patients.
One way to do this is by not visiting acute or community hospitals if you or any members of your family have had diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the last 48 hours. These stomach bugs can spread rapidly anywhere that people are gathered, such as schools or offices. Hospitals are public buildings with hundreds (or thousands) of visitors every day. That is why the NHS asks people to think carefully before visiting hospitals if they or anyone in their family has even mild symptoms of stomach upset.
Dr Patricia O’Neill, Consultant Microbiologist and Director for Infection Prevention and Control at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, said:
This is a good time to remind people of our normal seasonal message for all hospital visitors – please follow the 48 hour rule: do not visit hospitals or care homes if you, or the people you live with, have had diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the last 48 hours.
If you are unsure whether to visit, please feel free to contact the ward nurse before you come into hospital.
Sue Sayles, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, said:
We would ask that all our patients and visitors help us to keep Norovirus at bay. If you, or anyone in your household, has experienced diarrhoea, vomiting or any flu-like symptoms in the last 48 hours, then please stay away from the hospital. Diarrhoea and vomiting outbreaks can result in ward closure.
If you are not sure whether you would be safe to visit, then please do feel free to ring up and speak to the ward staff, who would be happy to give you advice.
Rachael Allen, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust’s Head of Infection Prevention and Control, said:
Protecting vulnerable patients and hospital staff is really important, whether this is in the county’s main hospitals or in the four community hospitals in Ludlow, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth or Bishop’s Castle.
We are asking anyone who is considering visiting or attending any of our hospitals to think very carefully about doing this if they have experienced diarrhoea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, or have been generally unwell in the last 48 hours. If you do feel that your visit is necessary then please telephone the ward or department for advice beforehand.
Good hand hygiene can help to limit the spread of the infection and there are some simple steps that the public can take to help stop Norovirus spreading:-
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet, and before preparing food or eating. If you’re in an NHS facility, pay attention to hand hygiene notices such as using hand gel upon entering and leaving a ward.
- Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with Norovirus. It is best to use a bleach-based household cleaner. Always follow the instructions on the cleaning product.
- Flush away any faeces or vomit in the toilet. You should also keep the surrounding toilet area clean and hygienic.
- Wash any clothing, or linens, which could have become contaminated with Norovirus. Washing with hot, soapy water will help to ensure that the virus is killed.
- Although people usually recover without treatment in 24-72 hours, it is important to stay away from work, school, college or any social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.
You can also find additional information about Norovirus including the symptoms, treatment and prevention from the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk.