18 December 2019

Norovirus – please don’t help pass it on

It is not uncommon at this time of year for people to get Norovirus (diarrhoea and vomiting). If you experience symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting and feel unwell with gastrointestinal symptoms please don’t help pass them on.

Stay at home and drink plenty of water. More importantly please DO NOT visit friends or relatives in hospital until you are free of symptoms for at least 48 hours. Failure to do this increases the risk of spreading the infection to patients and staff in hospital.

Lisa Redmond, Head of Infection Prevention and Control, said: “Norovirus is highly infectious. The public can help contain the spread of this virus by following basic hand hygiene measures and most importantly, not visiting friends or relatives in hospital if they are experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, and feel unwell with gastrointestinal symptoms. Please don’t help pass it on.  Also, if you are visiting a relative or friend in hospital we do not recommend storing food in open containers in ward areas such as fruit bowls, so please bring food gifts for patients in sealable containers only.

“To help reduce the risk of Norovirus spreading it is important to pay attention to good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water before eating and preparing food, after going to the toilet and after contact with someone who is ill with symptoms. Thorough cleaning of hard surfaces with a disinfectant or bleach solution, paying particular attention to frequently touched surfaces and toilet areas will help to reduce environmental contamination, and reduce the risk of transmission of infection to others coming into contact with these surfaces later on.”

Norovirus is highly infectious and is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting). The illness is generally mild and people usually recover fully within two to three days. There are no long term effects that result from being infected. Infections can occur at any age because immunity is not long lasting.