Public asked to help combat spread of norovirus

14/08/2015

Following a number of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting at Noble’s Hospital due to norovirus, the public are reminded that anyone planning to visit the hospital should stay at home if they or their family members have had diarrhoea / vomiting in the past two days.

Norovirus, which is also known as the ‘winter vomiting’ bug, is very infectious and outbreaks often occur in the community, particularly in schools and workplaces, throughout the year. It can then be brought into hospital by patients and their visitors, and has the ability to cause outbreaks on the wards.

The symptoms of norovirus usually start between 24 to 48 hours after the initial infection, although they can start after as little as 12 hours. The first symptom is usually a sudden onset of nausea, which is followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Some people may also have a mild fever, headaches, stomach cramps, or aching limbs.

If you are suffering from diarrhoea and/or vomiting, please do not:

  • Come to hospital for a routine appointment – instead, call the number on your appointment letter to reschedule it
  • Visit patients in hospital – you risk spreading the illness to vulnerable hospital patients
  • Attend the Emergency Department, unless it is a genuine emergency – speak to your GP first if possible.

Because norovirus is so contagious, patients in close proximity to someone with the illness are at a high risk of catching it.

There is no particular treatment for norovirus so the public can help limit its spread by staying away from hospitals if they are unwell with it and keeping poorly children off school.

Those with diarrhoea and vomiting should remain at home for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water once the vomiting has stopped, or if you are only suffering from diarrhoea.

Personal hygiene is especially important at this time so please make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and after using the toilet.

People who have the norovirus can expect the symptoms to go away within one to three days. If they are still feeling ill after this time, they should contact their GP. In either form, infection can have minor symptoms or can result in potentially life-threatening complications, particularly in children.

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