Ahead of Norovirus season, which is more commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, Sherwood Forest Hospitals and Nottinghamshire Healthcare are reminding patients and visitors experiencing symptoms of the virus to stay at home and telephone NHS 111 for advice, unless their condition is life-threatening.
The illness can spread easily in public places and its impact in hospitals and care homes can be severe. It can expose already poorly patients and residents directly to infection and can also increase the chances of NHS staff becoming ill.
The most common symptoms of Norovirus include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, with some people also having a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs.
People that have shown signs of these symptoms in the past 48 hours, or have been in contact with someone showing symptoms, are advised not to visit hospitals and care homes, unless their condition is life-threatening.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ Medical Director, Andy Haynes, said: “If someone suspects that they have Norovirus we ask them to please ensure that they do not visit our Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre, or other patients in our hospitals, to reduce the risk of passing it on to others.
“Because of its highly contagious nature, Norovirus can quickly spread through a hospital and once it gets into a hospital environment it can be difficult to control, resulting in us having to close wards and restrict visiting. This is something we have not yet had to do this year and obviously we want to avoid having to do as it can be disruptive to our patients.”
There’s no specific cure for stomach bugs such as Norovirus and it can be treated at home:
- Stay hydrated
- Take paracetamol
- Prevent spread
- Stay at home for two days after symptoms clear
To prevent the spread of the virus, avoid visiting hospitals and care homes if you have suffered vomiting or diarrhoea within the last 72 hours.
If you are a patient or resident:
- Remind your nurse, doctor or carer to wash their hands
- Wash your hands using the hand wash provided in hospitals
- Remind your visitors to wash their hands.
If you are visitor:
- Only visit the ward or care home if it is absolutely necessary and you are well yourself. Speak to staff if you are unsure. This will help us to reduce the spread of infection
- Do not come into hospitals or care homes if you are feeling unwell
- Please wash your hands and use the hand wash provided when you arrive and as you leave.