GP warns visitors to keep clear of local hospitals if they are suffering from the ‘winter vomiting’ norovirus.
A local GP has urged visitors to North Devon’s hospitals to stay away if they have any symptoms of the ‘winter vomiting’ bug norovirus.
It is a community borne virus and is highly contagious, causing diarrhoea and vomiting, but for vulnerable and poorly hospital patients it can do a great deal of harm.
During the winter there is always extra pressure on hospital services and this can increase further if visitors unintentionally bring norovirus into the hospital.
Anyone with symptoms, or who has been in contact with others with it, are asked to stay away until certain they are free of the virus.
“Outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting, often called the ‘winter vomiting disease’, are common in the community at this time of year,” said Dr Chris Bowman.
“Our hospitals always try to welcome friends and family to visit their loved ones, but we would ask if they have symptoms of norovirus to please stay away until they are symptom-free for at least 72 hours.
“People who are unwell and may have reduced immunity are more likely to catch it.”
As well as being a local GP, Dr Bowman is vice chairman of the Northern Locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.
He warned the symptoms to look out for in particular were diarrhoea, sickness or nausea.
Anyone who has been in contact with someone else who has the virus is asked to stay away from hospitals until it is clear they haven’t picked it up too.
Although it is not always possible to prevent infection, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water and disinfecting surfaces or objects can help to limit the spread.
If the illness persists for more than a few days, people should contact their family doctor by phone or take advice from NHS 111 on 111 or www.nhs.uk