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Public urged to help prevent spread of norovirus

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group is calling on Vale of York residents to help prevent the spread of norovirus during winter.

Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, is commonly referred to as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ because it can be more prevalent during winter - but outbreaks can occur at any time of the year.

It spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, GP surgeries, nursing homes and schools – and is usually brought into these places by visitors once it becomes prevalent in the community.

People are therefore being asked to help prevent the spread of norovirus by:

  • Staying away from hospitals and other healthcare facilities if you or someone you live with (or are in close proximity to) has vomited or had diarrhoea in the last 48 hours.
     
  • Staying at home until you or the person you live with (or are in close proximity to) have been free of these symptoms for 48 hours.
     
  • Washing hands with soap and water (not alcohol-based gels) frequently, especially before and after visiting hospital, a GP surgery or other healthcare facilities.

This video, featuring Beverley Geary, Chief Nurse at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explains more: https://youtu.be/No9tcbKu-6c

You don't normally need to see your GP if you have norovirus because there's no specific treatment for it – you simply have to let it run its course. Symptoms should normally clear within 24-48 hours.

Stay at home during this time but call, rather than visit, your GP or use the NHS 111 service if symptoms persist of if you’re concerned or need medical advice.

When you’re at home waiting for the symptoms to clear, make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Be sure to get plenty of rest and take paracetamol to ease fever or aches and pains.

Dr Kevin Smith, NHS Vale of York CCG Executive Director of Primary Care and Population Health, said: “Being ill is never a nice experience but the winter vomiting bug is particularly unpleasant. We can all help each other by staying away from public places when we are ill or have been in contact with someone who is suffering.

“Norovirus can disrupt hospital, GP and other healthcare services because it’s highly infectious and spreads easily so people are urged not to visit these places until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have cleared.

“You can always call your GP, rather than visit them, or use the NHS 111 service if you do need medical advice.

“The best place to be if you do catch norovirus is at home getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids. It’s also important to practise good hygiene by regularly washing your hands with soap and water.”

For more information about how to stay well this winter, visit www.valeofyorkccg.nhs.uk/winter

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