No-one wants a vomiting bug, but each winter many people unintentionally bring Norovirus into hospitals and care home when visiting loved ones.
East Kent Hospitals is urging the public across Kent to protect themselves and their loved ones against the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus, by taking simple steps to stop the spread of the virus, particularly to vulnerable people.
Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Most people will recover within a few days and can return to work or school. However if Norovirus is introduced unintentionally into hospitals by visitors it can lead to ward closures, making it difficult for health care workers to treat vulnerable patients at the busiest time of the year.
When a hospital ward is classed as ‘closed’ due to a Norovirus outbreak it means the ward is unable to admit any new patients until the outbreak is over – this can take weeks if the outbreak has affected a large number of patients.
If you or someone in your family appears to have symptoms of Norovirus, follow the helpful steps below:
- N No visits to hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of Norovirus – send someone else to visit loved ones until you are better
- O Once you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours (2 days), you’re safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals and care home
- R Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food
- O Only hand-washing will prevent spread of Norovirus – alcohol hand gels DON’T kill the virus