East Surrey Hospital warning over winter vomiting bug
THE winter vomiting bug is back at East Surrey Hospital, and NHS bosses have urged anyone with symptoms to avoid the hospital for at least 48 hours.
Norovirus causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach-cramps, chills and muscle aches, which tend to last for around 24 hours. It spreads very easily and can particularly affect the vulnerable and elderly.
"Remembering not to come into hospital as a visitor if you've been ill can help us stop bugs, such as norovirus, from taking hold in our hospital," said Jo Thomas, chief nurse of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
"We work incredibly hard to ensure that infections can't spread from patient to patient, or ward to ward, but all these efforts can be undone by someone who comes into hospital as a visitor while they are still carrying a bug such as Norovirus."
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The trust believes a mild winter followed by a cold snap led to the latest outbreak. They could not confirm how many patients and staff members were affected, as it changes by the hour, but they said they had no plans to shut down wards.
"An attack of Norovirus – which often means acute vomiting and diarrhoea – is unpleasant for anyone," said Ashley Flores, infection control nurse, "but if you're already ill, elderly or otherwise vulnerable – as people in hospital generally are – catching the virus can be more serious."
NHS Surrey and Sussex offered this advice on dealing with Norovirus:
- First of all, don’t panic. Sudden vomiting can be distressing but it is very unlikely that you will come to any serious harm.
- If you are elderly or frail, you may suffer a more severe bout of illness. The main concern is that you could become dehydrated.
- Wherever possible, it is advisable for elderly or frail individuals to be looked after by a family member.
- If you are concerned that you are becoming dehydrated, call your GP.
- The GP may prescribe oral medication to treat the vomiting or diarrhoea, as well as giving you oral re-hydration drinks.
- Wherever possible, patients and their carers should limit their contact with other people, especially avoiding going to hospitals or other care facilities unless absolutely necessary.