The winter diarrhoea and vomiting bug, known as norovirus, is on the rise in the local community, and Heartlands Hospital is now experiencing its first cases. The Hospital has ward 21 and Beech currently closed to visitors and with the situation liable to change at any time, visitors and the public are being reminded to steer clear and stay at home if they have recently suffered symptoms.
Diane Tomlinson, lead infection control and prevention nurse, explains: “Norovirus mostly spreads by contact but can also be air borne and is highly contagious, so we are concerned that locals entering the Hospital with the infection may pass it on to vulnerable patients. Although you may feel fine after suffering from the vomiting bug, you are still passing on germs to others for 48 hours after your last symptom.
“Those who have recently experienced norovirus symptoms but are otherwise fit, are advised to stay home and rest, drinking plenty of water during the illness, and importantly, to stay home for 48 hours after the symptoms have disappeared so as not to pass it on to others. Recent cases may have been brought in by visitors coming in too early after being ill.
“To tackle this and prevent our patients being at risk, Hospital staff are now checking all visitors before letting them onto wards to make sure visitors are fit and well and symptom free for 48 hours.”
To find out more information about norovirus, visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk If you are worried about Norovirus, contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.