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Norovirus
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Norovirus (winter vomiting bug)

Visiting

For the protection of our patients and staff, if you or a family member are experiencing diarrhoea & vomiting or flu like symptoms please do not visit our wards or departments until 48 hours after your symptoms have gone.  This includes any children who have shown signs of illness or those who have spent time with friends displaying these symptoms.

 

Hospital appointments or admissions

If you have an appointment at a clinic or are due to come into hospital please contact the area to see if your appointment is urgent, or if it can be rescheduled until you are feeling better.

 

We are appealing to our community to try and help us to keep your hospital free from Flu and Norovirus more commonly known as the ‘winter vomiting’ bug..


If you have any concerns, then please ask the nurse-in-charge of the ward or contact the Infection Prevention team on: 01322 428511



Norovirus is highly infectious and causes a very unpleasant but generally short-lived illness from which people usually recover without any treatment. The main symptom is vomiting, which can come on very suddenly and is often accompanied by diarrhoea. Some people may suffer with a raised temperature, headache and even aching limbs. If you do have any of these symptoms then the advice is simple: do not visit loved ones in hospital or nursing homes until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours. You should also stay away from work, or school until you have fully recovered.


Norovirus is a particular problem for hospitals for two main reasons; because we are looking after already unwell people, some of whom have a reduced immunity or who are elderly and frail and therefore are more susceptible to infection. Also as Norovirus is highly infectious it can seriously affect the services within a hospital. In most cases there is no benefit in people with this type of gastrointestinal infection being in hospital if they do not have some other more serious condition, however the very young and elderly may become dehydrated.

 

If symptoms persist, you become dehydrated, have an underlying medical condition or are genuinely concerned; you should contact your GP or call NHS111 for advice.

 

Each winter the staff at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust work very hard to identify and contain any cases of Norovirus to ensure that as far as possible the illness is not communicated to other patients and staff. When we have cases of Norovirus we may have to close affected bays or wards and if necessary restrict visiting, we are always grateful for our visitor’s co-operation and understanding should these containment measures be necessary. Excellent hand hygiene by staff, patients and visitors is particularly important in controlling the spread of infection, however we do ask once again for people with possible Norovirus symptoms to please stay away.

How can Norovirus be prevented?

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water - particularly after going to the toilet, before preparing or eating food, and after changing a baby's nappy. (Alcohol gels are not effective against this particular virus).
  • Do not use dirty cutlery.
  • Do not allow raw food to come into contact with cooked food.
  • Ensure all food is thoroughly cooked, especially meat and shellfish
  • Avoid contact with anyone suffering from the virus for two to three days after they are completely free of symptoms
  • Norovirus is highly contagious and can be contracted in a number of ways:
  • Direct contact with people who have the virus
  • Touching contaminated objects
  • Touching dirty or unwashed objects
  • Raw or undercooked food, especially meat and shellfish

  

For more info go to http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Norovirus/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Facts about Norovirus

Norovirus is not a notifiable disease so reporting is voluntary but it is estimated by the Health Protection Agency that the virus affects between 600,000 and a million people in the UK each year.

 

Norovirus is highly infectious and may be caught:

 

  • By direct contact with the vomit or diarrhoea of an affected person.

  • By direct contact with an infectious person which is why washing hands with soap and ward water after contact is so important.

  • From food that has been contaminated by the virus by someone with symptoms.

  • From food that was contaminated at source, such as raw shell fish.

  • From inanimate objects including flat surfaces, door handles etc, that have been contaminated by virus after someone has vomited in the area.

  • By breathing in the virus that is in the air around someone who has just vomited.

 

NOROVIRUS is highly infectious! It can seriously disrupt a hospital.