You can take precautions to prevent falling victim to the Norovirus outbreak in #Southend
28th December 2012
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Southend Hospital's Stambridge and Westcliff wards have been closed to new patients with only essential visitors attending the hospital in an attempt to prevent the further spread of Norovirus, and the Hospital is asking that people do not visit wards, clinics or the hospital restaurant if they have suffered an upset stomach or been in contact with anyone who has.

Norovirus is the second most frequent cause of illness after the common cold. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and occur between 24 and 48 hours after exposure. One of the main problems in trying to prevent its spread is that it can be caught through indirect contact, with hard and soft surfaces harbouring the virus unless they are effectively cleaned.

Follow these simple guidelines to protect yourself and your family.

Practice Proper Hand Hygiene

Frequent hand washing is always the best defence. This includes thoroughly washing hands or using hand sanitisers containing at least 60 percent alcohol, rubbing until hands are dry.

Clean with Bleach

If you've had the bug, use a bleach-containing cleaner to disinfect all surfaces. Wear disposable gloves, and don't forget 'frequent contact' surfaces like door knobs and light switches. After cleaning, dispose of or sanitise rags in hot water and bleach.

Food and Water Safety

Avoid  foodborne Norovirus infection by preventing food contamination. Keep fresh and raw food separately, and always wash raw food before eating .  Don't take chances on 'use by' dates or Christmas leftovers.  It is advisable that anyone who has been ill avoids food preparation for two or three days after symptoms have cleared. 

Don't Air Your Dirty Laundry

Direct contact with a sick person is not required to contaminate soft surfaces. The Norovirus can spread from a contaminated pillowcase to a clean towel in a pile of laundry. To disinfect laundry, run through a hot wash and add bleach to wash if heavily soiled with vomit etc.

Contain Outbreaks

Immediately quarantine those who are sick. Try and keep everything disinfected and wear protective gloves while cleaning.

Prevent Outbreaks

Don't wait for an outbreak to occur to clean up. Ward off Norovirus by maintaining a clean household and regularly disinfecting surfaces.

If you find yourself suffering from Norovirus the NHS advice is to try to eat foods that are easy to digest, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread. Babies should continue with their normal feeds Drink plenty of fluids. This is particularly important for young children and the elderly, as they are more prone to dehydration.  Patients finding it hard to keep down fluids, should try to take small sips more frequently to keep hydrated.  Wait until you have had no symptoms for at least two days before venturing out.

As with all virus infections, prevention is better than cure. Try and follow the above guidelines and keep your fingers crossed for a happy and healthy New Year!

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Claire T

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