Surrey and Sussex residents who have had vomiting and diarrhoea should not visit friends or relatives in hospital until 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped – that’s the message from the Chief Nurse of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
Vomiting and diarrhoea are symptoms of norovirus (commonly known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ but which can still be prevalent at this time of year) and which causes serious disruption in hospitals.
Due to a new outbreak and to protect our patients East Surrey Hospital has had to stop visiting to affected wards and for other wards visiting is being restricted to an immediate family member only, and the hours have been restricted to 2pm to 3pm and 7pm to 8pm.
As children often pose a high infection risk, we urge parents to carefully consider the risk to patients before bringing children to visit a relative at the hospital.
“We work incredibly hard to ensure that infections can’t spread from patient to patient, or ward to ward but all these efforts can be undone by someone who comes into hospital as a visitor while they are still carrying a bug such as norovirus.” Said Susan Aitkenhead, Chief Nurse of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
When norovirus affects patients, visitors are restricted, but it can be a visitor who causes the virus to strike in the first place.
If you have diarrhoea and/or vomiting, the advice is to ring your GP surgery if you have any concerns – and NOT to go to the surgery or A&E. This will avoid bugs spreading through busy waiting rooms.
Good hygiene can help prevent the spread of the norovirus. If a member of the family contracts the infection, prevent spreading by keeping the toilets clean, and wiping toilet seats and handles after every flush. Infected individuals should not share towels or face cloths, or prepare food.
Good hand hygiene is one of the single most effective measures for preventing the spread of infection. Ensure hands are washed after using the toilet, gardening and touching animals, including pets. Hands should also be washed before eating and preparing food.
The symptoms are generally self-limiting and usually clear in 2 to 3 days. Call your GP if the symptoms do not improve, or if there is blood in the faeces or urine.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Anti-diarrhoea medications may be given to adults only.