Help stop spread of norovirus @epsom_sthelier
4th December 2012
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Local NHS trusts are calling upon people to help stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, by staying away from hospitals for 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.

 Local NHS trusts are calling upon people to help stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus.

Among them is Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages Epsom Hospital.

The organisation is asking asking people not to visit its hospitals if they are suffering from winter-related viral infections in order to protect patients from catching them.

And top of the list is norovirus.

The symptoms of a norovirus usually start between 24 and 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.

Dr John Clark is the lead doctor for infection prevention and control at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. 

“At this time of year, we usually see a rise in the number of diarrhoea and vomiting outbreaks across the country, and the suspected cause is likely to be norovirus,” he said.

“We have already seen a small number of cases in our hospitals over the last few weeks, but by following our strict guidelines for treating those with symptoms – such as isolating the patient – we have been able to stop it from spreading and our hospitals are running as usual.

“However, because norovirus is so infectious and doesn’t have a particular treatment, we are asking the public to help limit the spread by staying away from hospitals if they are unwell. 

“By doing so, we will be able to reduce the chance of our patients being exposed to the illness. 

“If you, or one of your family has diarrhoea and vomiting, please remain at home until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped. 

“However, if symptoms persist for more than a few days, please seek advice from your GP.” 

One of the best ways for people to protect themselves against norovirus, Dr Clark said, is to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and after going to the toilet.

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust is also asking people to help prevent the introduction and spread of norovirus.

David Fluck is a medical director at the trust.

“We do not currently have norovirus at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals and would like to keep our wards free of it by asking any visitors and members of staff with diarrhoea and vomiting to stay away for 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust has issued information to those who are experiencing diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

In a statement on its website, the organisation said: “Unless it is an emergency, or you have another medical problem, please do not come to the hospital for treatment if you are experiencing diarrhoea or vomiting.

“You can call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or call your own GP for advice.

“You should also not visit people at the hospital whilst you are experiencing diarrhoea and/or vomiting, as you can spread the illness to other people.

“It’s best that you delay visiting until two whole days after your last bout of diarrhoea or vomiting.

“If you do have diarrhoea and/or vomiting, it’s important that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet.

“Handrubs don’t kill the germs that cause diarrhoea.

“You should also clean hard surfaces thoroughly, particularly the toilet and surrounding areas, to reduce the possibility of your family becoming unwell.”


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