Norovirus - help spread the word, not the virus

Jan 08, 2015

People planning to visit hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Shropshire are being reminded to stay away if they have experienced any symptoms of Norovirus.

Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common stomach bug in the UK. It is highly contagious and can affect people of all ages.

Normally at this time of year we expect to see the number of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting recorded in the community increasing. With the current demand on health services across Shropshire, it is particularly important that people help to prevent the spread of these illnesses, especially to vulnerable patients.

One way to do this is by not visiting hospitals - acute or community - if you or your family members have had diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu-like’ symptoms in the last 48 hours. These stomach bugs 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.

Dr Patricia O’Neill, Consultant Microbiologist and Director for Infection Prevention and Control at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We would like to reiterate our normal seasonal message for all hospital visitors - please follow the 48 hour rule. Please do not visit hospitals or care homes if you, or the people you live with, have had diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the last 48 hours.

“If you are unsure whether to visit, please feel free to contact the ward nurse before you come into hospital.”

Rachael Allen, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust’s Head of Infection Prevention and Control, said: “It’s really important to make sure that we protect vulnerable patients and hospital staff, whether this is in the main hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford, or in the four community hospitals in Ludlow, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth or Bishop’s Castle.

“This is why we’re asking everyone considering visiting or attending any of our hospitals if they have experienced diarrhoea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, or have been generally unwell in the last 48 hours, to think very carefully if they need to visit. However, if you still feel that your visit is necessary please telephone the ward or department for advice.”

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 Norovirus spreading:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet, and before preparing food or eating. 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 Norovirus. It is best to use a bleach-based household cleaner. Always follow the instructions on the cleaning product.
  • Flush away any 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 Norovirus. Washing with hot, soapy water will help to ensure that the virus is killed.
  • Although people usually recover without treatment in 24-72 hours, 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.

You can also find additional information about Norovirus including the symptoms, treatment and prevention from the NHS Choices website.
For further information, please contact:
Andy Rogers, Communications and Marketing Manager
Tel: 01743 277662