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Help Derby Hospitals say ‘no to Norovirus’

        7 December 2012


Staff at Derby Hospitals are asking visitors and relatives not to visit if they have had diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu like’ symptoms in the last four days.

The request is part of the Trust’s normal winter plans and is designed to help keep ‘winter vomiting’ or norovirus away from vulnerable patients and staff who could pass it on. Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting and, just like flu, the virus can seriously affect vulnerable patients.

Whilst diseases such as norovirus are at normal levels for this time of year, they can be exacerbated by cold weather, particularly in people who are already ill or who have a long term condition.

These stomach bugs are highly contagious and can spread rapidly anywhere that people are gathered, such as schools or offices. Hospitals are public buildings with hundreds (or thousands) of visitors every day. That is why the NHS asks people to think carefully before visiting hospitals if they or anyone in their family has even mild symptoms of stomach upset.

Good hand hygiene can help to limit the spread of the infection and there are some simple steps that the public can take to help stop a norovirus spreading:

·  Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet, and before preparing food. If you’re in an NHS facility pay attention to hand hygiene notices such as using hand gel upon entering and leaving a ward.

·  Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with a norovirus. It is best to use a bleach-based household cleaner. Always follow the instructions on the cleaning product.

· Flush away any infected faeces or vomit in the toilet. You should also keep the surrounding toilet area clean and hygienic.

· Wash any clothing, or linens, which could have become contaminated with a norovirus. Washing with hot, soapy water will help to ensure that the virus is killed.

· It is important to stay away from work, school, college or any social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

If you have norovirus, the best thing you can do is rest, and take plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.

Don’t visit your GP surgery or local A&E department. You should recover naturally without any specific treatment.

Helen Forrest, specialist nurse for infection control at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Although we have good infection prevention and control measures within the hospital, it’s important that we take every opportunity to reduce any potential risk to patients and staff.”

“Asking visitors to think carefully about whether they need to come into hospital if they have experienced diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms is just one of the ways the Trust manages to keep the number of cases of norovirus down at our hospitals.”

“We know that sometimes visitors feel they must take every opportunity to visit sick friends or relatives. However, if they themselves have been unwell, they could be putting others at risk. If you’re unsure whether to visit, please feel free to contact the ward nurse before you come into hospital.”

“If you are worried about prolonged symptoms, contact your GP or the NHS 111 service on 0845 4647. They will be able to provide advice for people who are at greater risk from dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as children under the age of five or the elderly.”

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Liz Smith

Communications Officer

Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

liz.smith21@nhs.net

01332 785778