Influenza (Flu) and Norovirus

Influenza (Flu) and Norovirus

Around the winter period infections such as flu and Norovirus circulate in the community.  Infections such as these cause outbreaks in hospitals, schools, and nurseries. You can imagine that outbreaks of this nature cause misery for our patients.

Below are a few tips to help us prevent these outbreaks.

Flu

Flu is caused by a virus and for this reason, cannot be treated with antibiotics.  The symptoms of dry cough, headache, shivers, fever and muscle ache tend to come on suddenly.

If you think that you may have flu, or are developing flu-like symptoms, please seek advice from your General Practitioner.  It is best to stay at home and telephone your GP.  Please do not attend your GP surgery or A&E in person.

General infection control practices can help to reduce the spread of flu, these should include:

  • Please do not visit patients in the hospital if you think you have flu, this can very easily pass to our vulnerable patients.
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue where ever possible.
  • Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
  • Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to your face or other people.
  • Cleaning hard surfaces (for example, door handles) frequently, using a normal cleaning product.
  • Making sure your children follow this advice.

Further information can be found on the Health Protection website, or by following the link below:
http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/SeasonalInfluenza/InformationForThePublic/

Norovirus

The symptoms of Norovirus are diarrhoea which may be accompanied by vomiting.  In some, vomiting may be the only symptom.

It usually only lasts for about 24 – 48 hours, but unfortunately, the affected person can continue to shed the virus for up to 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea and/or vomiting.  For this reason we ask that you do not visit the hospital if you have these symptoms, as this can easily spread to other patients and staff.

If you are required to attend a department in the hospital for treatment or an investigation, please contact the department to let them know if you have these symptoms.  They may postpone your visit, or if your visit is urgent, they may ask to see you at later time in the day.  This will help the department to make sure the area is cleaned after your visit.

Further information can be found on the Health Protection website here:
http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Norovirus/GeneralInformation/