Chocolates, magazines, grapes… whatever you bring into hospital, make sure it’s not norovirus.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is asking people to help them protect patients and staff from infection by avoiding coming into hospital if you are suffering with vomiting or diarrhoea.
The Trust, which runs Bradford Royal Infirmary, St Luke’s Hospital and Westwood Park and Westbourne Green community hospitals, is asking anyone planning to visit any of their hospitals to stay at home if they or their family members have had diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu-like’ symptoms in the previous four days.
This request is designed to help keep norovirus, often called the ‘winter vomiting bug’, away from our vulnerable patients and staff.
Affects people of all ages
Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans, and it affects people of all ages. It can be made worse by colder weather, and can be particularly serious for people who are already ill or have a long-term medical condition.
Rosemarie Dobson, lead nurse for infection prevention and control at the Trust, explained: “Norovirus is highly contagious, easily spreading from person to person and it causes outbreaks in the community, for example, in schools as well as in healthcare settings.
“Our hospitals have hundreds of visitors a day; that’s why we are asking people to avoid visiting if they might have the virus because they might spread the virus to the patients and cause an outbreak. So think carefully before visiting our hospitals if you or anyone in your family has even mild symptoms of stomach upset.”
If you are affected by norovirus then as well as avoiding visiting healthcare settings, like hospital wards, there are some simple steps that people can help to reduce the risk of spreading infection:
- wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, particularly after using the toilet, changing nappies, and before preparing food
- disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with norovirus. It’s best to use a bleach-based household cleaner, and always follow the instructions on the cleaning product
- avoid eating raw, unwashed produce
- flush away any infected poo or vomit in the toilet. You should also keep the surrounding toilet area clean and hygienic
- wash your clothing with hot, soapy water, which will help to ensure that the virus is killed.
There are many different ways that people can get help themselves get the right treatment and allow busy NHS services to help the people who need them most.
The options are:
- Self-care – look after yourself at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet
- Pharmacist (chemist) – for expert advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them
- GP (Doctor) – for illnesses that just will not go away, arrange to see your doctor
- Call 111 – if you need urgent healthcare, contact NHS 111 which will help you access the local service that can help you best
- A&E or 999 – only if you need very urgent medical attention.
Check out the symptoms and treatment of norovirus at www.nhs.uk