PEOPLE are being asked not to visit hospital with symptoms of winter vomiting bug norovirus as cases rise across Bradford district and Craven.

Those experiencing symptoms of norovirus – which is highly contagious - are being asked to stay at home, rather than visiting friends or relatives in hospital, nursing or care homes, and to be extra vigilant in terms of hygiene. 

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Symptoms include sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pains or cramps, headaches, aching arms and legs, tiredness and a high temperature (38C or above).

Although norovirus can be unpleasant, it’s not usually dangerous for people in general good health, and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see their GP. The virus can, however, be more serious for people who are already weak and may result in them having to stay in hospital for longer.

Jill Asbury, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust,  said: “We are asking people with any of the symptoms of norovirus to avoid going into hospitals, nursing and care homes to visit friends or relatives. 

“If a vulnerable patient contracts norovirus it could have potentially serious health implications. You are doing the right thing for patients by staying away until 48 hours after any norovirus symptoms disappear.” 

There are simple measures people can take to avoid catching or spreading the virus: wash your hands regularly with soap and water, avoid sharing towels and ensure you disinfect surfaces that an infected person may have touched.

Rosemarie Dobson, lead nurse for infection prevention and control at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Norovirus spreads very easily and rapidly.  You can catch it from close contact with someone who has norovirus and from touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them and then touching your mouth.  You can also catch it by eating food that’s been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus.

“Poorly people in hospital tend to have lower immunity against infections, as their body fights to become well again.

“Friends and family can help us by postponing their visit until they are 48 hours symptom-free; to make sure they don’t pass on any illnesses. We can also all do our bit to stay well this winter by washing our hands thoroughly and regularly.”

Dr David Tatham, clinical lead for urgent and emergency care for the Bradford district and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) added:  “There is no treatment for norovirus, so it will have to run its course.  Usually you can treat yourself or your child at home by drinking plenty of fluids, taking paracetamol, and getting plenty of rest.  Babies and young children, especially if they’re less than a year old, have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated so make sure that they have plenty to drink.

“Stay off school or work for two days after the symptoms have stopped to ensure that you don’t pass the virus to other people.”