Norovirus
Visitors urged to stay away from hospitals

Monday 31 December 2012 Updated: 31/12 13:09

VISITORS are being asked to stay away from the county's three main hospitals as staff battle to contain the spread of norovirus.

An increasing number of cases of the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug is putting huge strain on services at the Worcestershire Royal, Alexandra and Kidderminster hospitals.

All visitors are currently being urged to avoid coming to any of the three sites to help hospital staff restrict the spread of cases which can cause major disrupion including ward closures, staff shortages, cancelled operations and increased waiting times.

Norovirus is a highly infectious illness and because of this visitors are only allowed under exceptional circumstances.

Helen Blanchard, Chief Nursing Officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “One of the most effective ways to control outbreaks in our hospitals is through stringent infection control.

"We understand people want to visit relatives in hospital but would like to remind visitors not to attend if they have any symptoms of norovirus infection such as diarrhoea and/or vomiting you are reminded to stay at home."

“There are increasing numbers of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in the community, which is expected at this time of year. We already have in place stringent infection prevention and control procedures in preparation for this predominantly winter illness."

"It can be very difficult to contain the spread of this extremely contagious illness but restricting visitors will have a significant impact and help prevent the spread of this highly contagious illness which is unpleasant for most people but which can be a greater risk for people who are already ill."

“We are also working with colleagues in the community to provide more care in the home unless the patient requires admission because of additional health concerns. By working together we can reduce the risk of spreading the infection to patients and staff.”

Anyone with symptoms of norovirus infection such as diarrhoea or vomiting are reminded to stay at home and telephone either their GP or NHS Direct for advice rather than risk transmitting the infection further.

There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course, but there are some simple infection control procedures to follow:

· Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

· Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet.

· Food preparation for others should be avoided until 48 hours after symptoms have subsided.

· Telephone your GP or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice if the symptoms do not quickly subside or you have additional concerns.

For the latest information on visiting restrictions go to www.worcsacute.nhs.uk

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