Act now to stop spread of winter bug, say doctors

Portsmouth clinicians in need of people for study

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CASES of a winter vomiting bug can be contained if people keep up good hygiene practices.

That’s the message being given by health experts at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, to ensure an outbreak of norovirus does not take place.

There have been some cases of people being treated for the bug at the hospital, but it has not been classed as an outbreak and no wards have been closed.

Southampton General Hospital has closed seven wards while it tackles an outbreak of the virus.

Norovirus – better known as the winter vomiting bug – is the most common stomach bug in the UK and affects people of all ages.

It is highly contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

But with no specific cure, patients suffering from the bug need to let it run its course – the illness should not last more than a couple of days.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is keen to ensure numbers do not increase and has issued advice on how to prevent the bug from spreading or entering the hospital.

Matthew Richardson, senior infection prevention nurse, said: ‘Currently, we are treating patients who have been admitted to the hospital with norovirus in a controlled manner.

‘We would urge members of the public to be scrupulous with their hand hygiene and regularly wash their hands with soap and water.

‘If they are in hospital they need to wash their hands before and after entering and leaving a ward area.

‘We would ask members of the public not to visit the hospital if they have had diarrhoea or vomiting symptoms within the past three days unless they require urgent treatment.’

Those who get norovirus are advised to drink plenty of fluids to stop dehydration and practise good hygiene to help prevent it from spreading.

For more information on recognising or treating symptoms, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 123 or visit nhsdirect.nhs.uk.

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