Public asked to help the fight against winter vomiting virus
21 December 2012
Southend University Hospital is urging only essential visitors to attend the hospital in an attempt to prevent the spread of norovirus (also known as ‘winter vomiting disease’). The public is being asked not to come to wards, clinics or the hospital restaurant if they have an upset tummy or have been in contact with anyone suffering from one.
Following an outbreak of norovirus (also known as 'winter
vomiting disease'), the hospital has had to close two wards
(Stambridge and Westcliff) to new patients.
Sue Hardy, director of nursing, said: "We do realise that
visitors want to come and see their loved ones, particularly at
this time of year. But we would ask them give us their support in
tackling the spread of this bug and only come if it is
"If we get an outbreak, we have to close the affected ward to
further admissions which can have a knock-on effect on the rest of
the hospital at an exceptionally busy time of year. It can also
mean our patients have to remain in hospital for longer than they
may otherwise have needed to."
Ms Hardy added: "We know that this virus is brought into the
hospital from the community and we always ask people who have had
it - or been in contact with someone who has - to take precautions
and not come into our hospital.
"The best preventative measure for individuals is to wash
hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet and
Visitors are also being asked to adhere strictly to the rule of
only two visitors per bedside, to use the hand gel in dispensers on
all the wards, not to bring children under 12 years, not to sit on
beds, not to eat or drink on the wards and not to visit more than
Ms Hardy said: "These are all measures which can help prevent
the spread of infection and we thank the public for their
cooperation and for their vigilance."
Norovirus, which affects hospitals, nursing and residential
homes throughout the country at this time of year, spreads quickly
and can still be passed on after symptoms have disappeared.
- Norovirus usually starts with the sudden onset of nausea
followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Some people
may also have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs
- Symptoms begin around 12 to 48 hours after becoming
- The illness is self-limiting and symptoms will last for
between12 to 60 hours
- Some people (usually the very young or elderly) may become very
dehydrated and need hospital treatment
- Although there is no specific treatment apart from letting the
illness run its course, it is important to drink plenty of fluids
to prevent dehydration
- Good hygiene is vital to prevent the spread of the virus - this
includes thorough hand washing. Food preparation should also be
avoided until three days after the last symptoms