County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust currently has
confirmed cases of Norovirus and is asking local people to help
keep cases of vomiting and diarrhoea to a minimum in hospitals this
Cases of diarrhoea and vomiting traditionally go up in the
colder months. Most bouts of winter vomiting are caused by
norovirus infection which is the most common cause of
gastro-enteritis in England and Wales. It is estimated that
norovirus affects between 600,000 and one million people in the
United Kingdom every year.
The virus causes unpleasant but short-lived symptoms for the
majority of people, but can have a devastating effect if it gets
into a hospital. As well as making some patients seriously ill, the
virus can also lead to hospital wards being unable to accept new
admissions or appointments needing to be postponed.
Noel Scanlon, Executive Director of Nursing and Director for
Infection Prevention and Control at County Durham and Darlington
NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are asking everyone visiting their
friends or relatives in one of our hospitals to support us in
protecting our patients and staff from these bugs.
"They can make people who are already poorly seriously ill,
particularly older people and those who have long term health
"With the help of our local communities we can keep these bugs
to a minimum and this will enable us to keep our services running
as normal. There are some simple things people can do. If you have
vomiting or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours then please do not
visit a hospital. Try when reasonable, not to bring children aged
12 years or younger to visit, as they often pick up these bugs at
school. No more than two visitors for each patient at any one time.
And please do not sit on beds when visiting patients, instead use
the seats provided at bed side."
The main symptom of norovirus is vomiting, which can be
projectile in nature, and is sometimes accompanied by
diarrhoea. Some people may have a raised temperature,
headaches and aching limbs.
Mr Scanlon added: "Norovirus is highly infectious and it can
spread rapidly in semi-closed communities such as hospitals which
is why people should stay away from work or school and avoid
visiting until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.
"People feel very unwell when they have a norovirus infection,
but it is not usually necessary to seek medical advice unless
symptoms persist for more than a few days.
"They should stay at home and take plenty of fluids until they
are free of symptoms for 48 hours. If the illness persists for more
than a few days, they should seek health advice in the usual ways
such as from their GP or 111."
If you do become ill, you can also reduce the risk of passing on
the virus to others by:
Symptoms such as sickness and diarrhoea can be best treated by
staying at home, drinking plenty of fluids and getting some rest.
Advice is available from your local high-street pharmacist, on line
from NHS Choices www.nhs.uk and from the 111 service.
'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly,
efficiently and professionally with full explanations and
compassion from all staff involved'.
Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital