Christmas is unfortunately the season during which hospitals traditionally see a rise in outbreaks of the vomiting and diarrhoea bug norovirus, so health professionals in south Warwickshire are urging people to try to avoid giving people the unwanted gift of illness.
Staff are concerned that as people take the opportunity to visit friends and family in hospital over the festive period, they may be putting them and other patients at risk by bringing unwanted germs with them.
They are asking people to avoid entering hospitals until they have been clear of the symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting for 48 hours, unless they need urgent medical attention.
The same applies to anyone who has been in contact with someone with symptoms in the previous 48 hours.
Those who do visit hospital must wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water and pay attention to hand hygiene notices such as using hand gel upon entering and leaving a ward.
Helen Lancaster, director of nursing at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “If you have norovirus, the best thing you can do is rest, and take plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration. The majority of people will recover naturally without the need for medical attention.
“If you are worried about prolonged symptoms, you can ring 111, or your GP. They will be able to provide advice for people who are at greater risk from dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as children under the age of five or the elderly.”
For more information about norovirus, visit www.nhs.uk/norovirus and to read more about winter health, visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Winterhealthhome