Norovirus is a virus which causes diarrhoea and/or vomiting and 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’.
Symptoms can begin suddenly and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach-cramps, chills and muscle aches which tend to last for around 24 hours, although the bug may last for up to 48 hours in your body.
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 free from symptoms for 48 hours (2 days).
Help reduce the spread of Norovirus. Wash your hands thoroughly and stay at home.
- wash your hands. Stay at home if you are ill
- symptoms may begin suddenly and include: Nausea | vomiting | tiredness | fever | diarrhoea muscle ache | stomach cramps | headaches.
- stay away from hospital until you are symptom-free for at least 48 hours (2 days).
- prevent the spread of germs with good hand washing.
Prevent the spread of germs with good hygiene
Our campaign for winter is to encourage everyone to adopt good hand washing practices.
Winter months see the spread of colds, flu and norovirus (sickness and diarrhoea) through touching surfaces as we go about our daily business, and then touching our mouths or food that we eat.
Adopting good hand washing practices reduces the risk of spread 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. Drying hands properly is just as important, as damp hands can harbour germs.
About Infection Control at our hospitals
When you are admitted to hospital it can be an anxious time for you and your family or friends. Although infection may be concerning 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.
What patients and visitors should always remember – hand washing
Hand washing 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 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.
Remember: wash hands well with soap and water. Dry them thoroughly with a clean towel.
Read our Infection Control Annual Report
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