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Colds, flu and norovirus

Winter months see the spread of colds and flu through touching surfaces as we go about our daily business, and then touching our mouths or the food that we eat

Norovirus is a virus which causes diarrhoea and/or vomiting. It spreads like a cold or flu and is more common in the colder, winter months. It is also sometimes called ‘gastric flu’ or ‘winter vomiting’.

Winter vomiting is quite infectious and can be spread quite quickly through any close contact.

Anyone, including visitors, who is suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should not go to hospital until they have been completely free from symptoms for 48 hours (2 days).

Help reduce the spread of Norovirus. Wash your hands thoroughly and stay at home.

Norovirus symptoms may begin suddenly.

Norovirus symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • tiredness
  • fever
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle ache
  • stomach cramps
  • headaches

Good handwashing

Prevent the spread of germs with good handwashing. Wash hands well with soap and water.

Adopting good handwashing practices reduces the risk of spreading germs, which is particularly important when we’re visiting friends or relatives in hospital, the elderly at their home or when we’re around very young children.

The best way to clean hands is with soap and warm water, paying attention to fingers, thumbs, under nails and wrists.

Handwashing is the simplest but most effective way to reduce the risk of infection. Hands should be washed with soap and water or alcoholic hand rub may be used in many situations.

Visitors should also wash their hands on arrival and before leaving the ward.

When you are at home, good hand hygiene is necessary to keep you well.

You should wash your hands:

  • when visibly dirty
  • after using the toilet
  • after changing nappies
  • before preparing food or drink
  • after washing soiled bedding or clothes
  • after handling pets or cleaning up after them
  • after gardening
  • after any cleaning

Dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel. Drying hands properly is just as important as washing; damp hands can harbour germs.

Infection Control at ESNEFT hospitals

When you are admitted to hospital it can be an anxious time for you and your family or friends. Although infection may worry you, we want to reassure patients and relatives that the Trust takes infection control extremely seriously and we do everything we can to prevent infection affecting you or the hospital.

All our staff working with patients receive training in infection prevention and control practices.

We have an Infection Prevention and Control Team at our Trust who have a responsibility to reduce the risk of infection for all patients, staff and visitors to the Trust. This is achieved through the provision of education to all staff groups whilst ensuring appropriate evidence-based policies and systems are in place and audited.

The Infection Prevention and Control Team provide daily advice and training for our staff and offer advice to patients and their relatives. Infection prevention and control needs are included within the cleaning, catering and laundry services.


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