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New video warns of norovirus risk to hospitals and care homes

A new video has been filmed in Hertfordshire and west Essex to advise people how to cope with the symptoms of norovirus – also known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ – and to warn of the risk that it poses to hospitals and care homes.

The video has been produced by Hertfordshire and west Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) and will be shown across many GP waiting room screens across the area in February.  It is also available to view on YouTube and through the Hertfordshire and west Essex STP website at www.healthierfuture.org.uk

In the short video, healthcare professionals from Hertfordshire and west Essex urge people with any symptoms of the highly contagious diarrhoea and sickness bug to stay at home and wait 48 hours until symptoms have passed before visiting any hospital, care home or GP practice.

Hospitals and care homes have already been affected by cases of norovirus this winter and clinicians are keen to limit any further impact – so please share the video – not the virus!

Sarah Pryor, Therapy Lead for Hertfordshire Community Trust, based at Potters Bar Community Hospital said: “If you think you have any symptoms of norovirus, we recommend that you don’t visit people in hospitals and care homes, or even their own homes, as it just creates a risk of spreading it further. I’ve previously worked on wards where we have had to close wards to admissions and discharges due to norovirus which means we can’t accept new patients coming in from other hospitals or care settings, nor move patients on for fear of them having the virus. It also means visitors cannot come onto the ward.

“We advise anyone to have at least 48 hours clear of symptoms before going into such environments. Do consider phoning your relatives rather than visiting if you want to stay in touch.”

Rakesh Bagga, Superintendent Pharmacy Manager at Metwest Pharmacy in Harlow stated: “Norovirus is a self-limiting disease which does not require specific medicine. There is no need to go to your GP as they won’t be able offer any medication and antibiotics will not work. We recommend you stay at home and stay hydrated.”

The main symptoms of norovirus are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Other possible symptoms:

  • Headache
  • High temperature
  • Aching arms and legs

Other tips if you are suffering from norovirus:

  • Stay at home and drink plenty of water
  • Rehydration treatment can be helpful
  • Avoid fruit juice or fizzy drinks
  • Take paracetamol if you have a temperature
  • Wash your hands with soap and water (hand gels are not effective)
  • Make sure you clean and wipe surfaces well
  • Norovirus will get better without treatment; antibiotics are not necessary

If you are concerned:

  • Call GP or 111 if you are worried or if your symptoms last more than 2 days
  • Get early advice for babies or older/vulnerable adults

Further advice can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/norovirus/

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