The NHS in Torbay and South Devon is seeing an increase in the number of cases of norovirus both in hospitals and out in the community.
Also known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
In hospitals, these outbreaks can have a big impact on services and on people who are already unwell. Infections such as norovirus can seriously impact their recovery. It can also result in staff becoming unwell and having to take time off work while they recover.
Infection control policies and procedures in place for infections such as COVID-19, flu and norovirus mean that wards may have to be closed when these are present. This can reduce the number of available beds as well as affecting visiting policies for the loved ones of people in hospital care.
People can help protect and care for vulnerable patients and members of staff by not coming to hospitals if they have symptoms of flu, COVID-19 or norovirus.
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s chief medical officer, Dr Kate Lissett, said: “The main symptoms of norovirus are feeling or being sick and diarrhoea. You may also have a high temperature, headache and aching arms and legs. The symptoms start suddenly within one to two days of being infected and can be very unpleasant, but usually go away in a couple of days.
“You can treat yourself at home by resting and drinking water to avoid dehydration, but you should call your GP or 111 for advice if your symptoms last longer or worsen.
“If you are ill, avoid cooking and helping prepare meals for others until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped, as norovirus can be spread when food is handled by symptomatic people or infected individuals.
“To help us, we also ask that if you have had symptoms of norovirus to stay away from our hospitals and healthcare settings until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.”
Kate added: “We know this can be difficult, especially if you want to visit a loved one who is staying in one of our hospitals, but it is in their best interest to avoid catching the virus.
“Norovirus can have a much greater impact on those in our care who are already poorly, so we want to keep them as healthy as we possibly can. By avoiding our healthcare settings while you have norovirus, you are also helping to keep our staff healthy and our hospital wards open.”
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