Hospitals across Gloucestershire are re-launching a major campaign this month to help stop the spread of Norovirus, protect vulnerable patients and support NHS services this Winter.
The high visibility ‘Combat Norovirus’ campaign will be profiled at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Cheltenham General Hospital, community hospitals and GP surgeries.
Banners, posters and leaflets carrying the key campaign messages will be available at healthcare facilities county-wide.
Leaflets for relatives, explaining how to protect vulnerable patients will be handed out by healthcare staff and campaign information and resources will be available on NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s website here and through social media channels.
The key campaign messages are:
• Do not visit healthcare facilities, like hospitals, if you have had diarrhoea and/or vomiting until two days after symptoms have stopped (even if these were mild symptoms)
• Do not visit friends or relatives in hospital if you have recently (within the last three days) been in contact with anyone who has diarrhoea and/or vomiting
• Always wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap. You should always do this after using the toilet and before preparing food. This is good practice whether or not you have symptoms
• Do not handle or prepare food for other people until you have been free of symptoms for a minimum of three days
• If you, or someone you care for, needs medical advice call NHS 111. CALL your GP surgery in the first instance
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Director of Infection Prevention and Control Maggie Arnold said:
“We are encouraging all our staff and visitors to get behind this important campaign and help tackle the spread of Norovirus head on. Anyone visiting our hospitals will not fail to see the campaign messages – we just need every individual to take it to heart and help protect our vulnerable patients.”
Director of Nursing and Quality at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust Liz Fenton said: “We fully support this campaign and will be working with our colleagues across the county to reinforce these key messages to prevent the spread of Norovirus to our patients and service users.
“By following a few simple steps we can stay well and minimise the risk of infection to those around us.”
Clinical Chair at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP Dr Helen Miller, said:
“The campaign reinforces our shared responsibility to combat the spread of Norovirus in the interests of patients, staff, relatives and the NHS as a whole. We would urge everyone to take heed of the important messages and act responsibly – it could make a real difference and could even save lives.”
Notes to Editors
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs) in England and Wales and can affect people of any age.
Whilst this condition, sometimes called ‘Winter vomiting disease’ or ‘Winter vomiting bug,’ is an unpleasant experience, the infection tends to be short lived and most people will just need to drink plenty of fluids and take plenty of rest.
However, people who are already ill, such as patients in hospital, can sometimes get quite poorly as the illness can interfere with the effectiveness of the medicines they are taking and also make them weak and dehydrated.
The symptoms of a norovirus infection begin around 12 to 72 hours after the patient picks up the infection. Symptoms usually last for 12 to 60 hours, but sometimes longer.
They start with feeling sick (nausea) often followed by projectile vomiting. The vomiting is frequently projectile. Many patients will also get watery diarrhoea. Some people will have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs (flu like symptoms).
Most people make a full recovery within 1-2 days, but some people (usually the very young or elderly) may become very dehydrated and require medical treatment.
How does Norovirus spread?
It is very contagious, is spread mainly from person to person and occasionally through food preparation, and is more likely to spread where people are in close proximity. Public places, like hospitals are susceptible to outbreaks and this may result in ward closures and restricted visiting