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NHS appeal to Yorkshire residents to leave vomiting bug at home

NHS appeal to Yorkshire residents to leave vomiting bug at home

Published at 4:28pm 20th December 2017. (Updated at 4:31pm 20th December 2017)

The NHS is appealing to families and friends who wish to visit patients in hospitals in Yorkshire and the Humber to ‘visit responsibly’ and see out symptoms at home to help reduce the spread of the common sickness and diarrhoea bug, norovirus.

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK.

It's also called the winter vomiting bug because it's more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year.

The highly contagious bug has already caused a number of ward closures throughout the region and national figures show the number of cases is rising steadily.  

Medical director for Yorkshire and the Humber, Paul Twomey, said: “Although norovirus rarely requires medical treatment, for those who are already ill, it can be more serious and makes it more complicated for us to provide care in the hospital.

“Most people will recover from the virus within a few days, but will remain carriers of the virus for some time after symptoms have disappeared.

"For hospital patients, who can often be more vulnerable due to existing illness or injury, the bug can have a more serious impact on their health.

“If you are feeling unwell, or actually have diarrhoea or vomiting, please don’t come into hospital as a visitor for at least 48 hours after the last symptom has disappeared.

"Infection outbreaks in the community and in hospitals can happen quickly and self-treating at home is the best way to alleviate the risk of putting already unwell people at further risk.”

It is vitally important we protect our patients - and well established systems are in place to do this.

However, we really need visitors and members of the public to assist us by visiting responsibly.

Here’s some tips to help treat norovirus:

Know the symptoms

 You're likely to have norovirus if you experience:

  • suddenly feeling sick
  • projectile vomiting
  • watery diarrhoea

Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.

The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to 2 or 3 days.

Stay at home

If you’ve been vomiting or had diarrhoea in the last 48 hours, do not visit hospitals or other healthcare centres such as GP surgeries.

Norovirus spreads rapidly in closed environments such as these. If you have norovirus and visit these places, you risk spreading the illness to others, including those who may already be unwell.

Norovirus usually lasts between one and two days, so stay at home for at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.

There’s no cure, so you have to let it run its course.

Prevent spread

Good hygiene is vital in helping to reducing your chances of catching norovirus.

Be sure to regularly wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you use the toilet, or before touching or preparing food.

Antibacterial hand gel alone does nothing to stop a viral infection like norovirus.

Washing your hands properly should take about as long as singing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds) according to the World Health Organization.

When preparing food, which you shouldn’t do if you’re infected, all fresh produce should be washed thoroughly and all surfaces should be wiped down and disinfected before cooking.

Wash used items of clothing separately on a high heat to kill germs.

Flush away any infected faeces or vomit in the toilet and clean the surrounding area well with a bleach based product.

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