Posted on Wednesday 23rd February 2011
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is asking any visitors who are feeling under the weather to think twice before coming to see patients.
Norovirus, the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea at this time of the year, is a nasty infection for anyone who gets it but can be particularly dangerous for people with other medical conditions.
Known as the winter vomiting bug, it affects between 600,000 and one million people in the United Kingdom every year. It is normally a short-lived, self-limiting infection from which people will usually recover within 12 to 60 hours.
The condition is highly contagious unless great care is taken to contain it so staff at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital staff in Whitehaven are asking anyone who feels unwell or who has shown symptoms of Norovirus within the past 48 hours not to visit patients.
Alex Galdins, Lead Nurse for Infection Prevention and Control at the Trust, said: “Norovirus infection is particularly serious when it gets into environments where people live or work in close proximity, such as hospitals, residential care homes and schools. In hospitals, it inevitably leads to ward closures as measures are taken to contain the infection and stop it spreading. It can also lead to staff illness and of course it increases the risk to patients who have other serious illnesses.
“However, there are things that people can do to limit the impact so we are reminding people of the measures that may protect our healthcare services from the worst effects of norovirus infection.”
The Trust’s advice to people visiting hospital is:
Do not visit friends or relatives in hospital if you feel unwell
If you develop Norovirus, stay away from hospital until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours
Wash hands regularly at the hand wash basins which are provided in every bay and cubicle as hand gels are ineffective against Norovirus
Use chairs provided – do not sit on beds
Limit visitors to two per patient and avoid bringing very young children who may be vulnerable to infection