Handwashing

Help prevent infections coming into hospital

Friday January 2, 2015

Help us to keep winter sickness bugs off the wards – that is the message from infection control experts at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

So far this winter, Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s in Chichester have suffered only minimal disruption from the highly infectious vomiting and diarrhoea bug norovirus.

If there is a chance you may be carrying the bug, please do not risk spreading it to others.

The Trust has a strong track record in preventing the spread of infection – for example, there were no avoidable hospital-acquired MRSA cases at all in 2014 – but staff need the support of people coming into the hospitals to keep vulnerable patients as safe as possible from the threat of infection, and the disruption to care it can cause.

Norovirus is now well-established within the community, and passes quickly from person to person. If you have norovirus, avoid direct contact with other people, and preparing food for others, until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have gone. You may still be contagious, even though you no longer have sickness or diarrhoea.

Avoid visiting hospitals if you have had the typical symptoms of norovirus in the past 48 hours. Norovirus is more serious and even more easily spread among people who are already ill.

Helen Richards, Lead Infection Control Nurse at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our first priority is to keep our patients safe, and so it is vital that people do whatever they can to avoid bringing infection into a hospital environment – we are caring for many frail people who are vulnerable to such infections.

“There is also the wider disruption that norovirus brings. Once it is present on a ward we have to act quickly to limit the spread – that can mean restricting visiting or even closing beds to new admissions at a time of year when demand for treatment is at its highest.

“If there is a chance you may be carrying the bug, please do not risk spreading it to others.”

Reducing the risk of norovirus: Top Tips

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food
  • Do not share towels and flannels
  • Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with the virus.
  • Wash any clothing or bedding that could have become contaminated with the virus. Wash the items separately and on a hot wash to ensure that the virus is killed.
  • Flush away any infected faeces or vomit in the toilet and clean the surrounding toilet area.

Norovirus: symptoms

The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

Some people may also have:

  • a raised temperature (over 38C/100.4F)
  • headaches
  • stomach cramps
  • aching limbs

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