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Posted on Tuesday 20th January 2015

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust would like to thank the local community for their continued support in keeping norovirus out of its hospitals.

Last week the Trust appealed to potential visitors to stay away from the Cumberland Infirmary unless their visit was absolutely essential to try to minimise the spread of the virus. Many people have respected this request, but some patients are still receiving large groups of visitors, so the Trust is issuing the following reminder:

  • If you or a family member has had diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu-like’ symptoms in the last two days, please DO NOT visit
  • No more than two visitors should visit each patient at any one time
  • Children and frail elderly visitors are particularly at risk and should avoid visiting patients in hospital if possible.

While the number of patients showing symptoms of norovirus at the Cumberland Infirmary has gone down since last week, a significant number of patients are still affected and the virus is still circulating widely in the community.

Gail Naylor, director of nursing & midwifery at the Trust, said: “We would like to thank the community for taking on board our request only to visit patients if absolutely necessary. We know that sometimes visitors feel they must take every opportunity to visit sick friends or relatives, but reducing the number of people passing through our hospitals reduces the chances of infection.

“Anyone who still feels they need to visit is asked to follow strict hand washing guidance and to ask staff on the ward if unsure of how to minimise the risk of infection.

“If you have had vomiting or diarrhoea yourself, please stay away until you have been symptom-free for at least two days. If you are worried about prolonged symptoms, you can ring 111, or your GP. They will be able to provide advice for people who are at greater risk from dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as children under the age of five or the elderly.”

If you have an appointment at the hospital and have had vomiting or diarrhoea in the past two days, please call the number on your appointment letter. If you have shown no symptoms, please attend as usual.

Good hand hygiene can help to limit the spread of the infection and there are some simple steps that the public can take to help stop a norovirus spreading:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet, and before preparing food. If you’re in an NHS facility, pay attention to hand hygiene notices such as using hand gel upon entering and leaving a ward.
  • Avoid sitting on patient beds – use the chairs provided.
  • Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with norovirus. It is best to use a bleach-based household cleaner. Always follow the instructions on the cleaning product.
  • Flush away any infected faeces or vomit in the toilet. You should also keep the surrounding toilet area clean and hygienic.
  • Wash any clothing, or linens, which could have become contaminated with a norovirus. Washing with hot, soapy water will help to ensure that the virus is killed.
  • Although people usually recover without treatment in 24-72 hours, it is important to stay away from work, school, college or any social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

    If you have norovirus, the best thing you can do is rest, and drink plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.

Posted on Tuesday 20th January 2015


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