Public Reminded to Stay at Home if They Have Norovirus
People across Forth Valley are being reminded to stay at home and avoid visiting local hospitals if they have any of the symptoms of norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug.
The advice comes at a time when levels of norovirus across Scotland is increasing and there have also been a number of recent instances in Forth Valley where visitors, who had recently been unwell with the virus, had continued to visit friends or family members in local hospitals when they were still likely to be infectious.
Lesley Shepherd, NHS Forth Valley’s Lead Infection Control Nurse, said: “Anyone with diarrhoea and vomiting should wait at least 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped before visiting hospitals as the virus can spread easily from one person to another and could have serious implications for vulnerable patients who are already unwell.
“We know people feel guilty if they don’t visit a friend or relative in hospital however we want to get the message across that you are doing the right thing for patients by staying at home until you feel better.”
Symptoms of norovirus include a sudden onset of nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pains or cramps, headaches, fever and tiredness.
Although having norovirus can be unpleasant, it’s not usually dangerous and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see their GP. It can, however, be more serious for patients who are already weak and may result in them having to stay in hospital for longer.
Outbreaks of norovirus in public places, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and nurseries, are common because the virus can survive for several days on surfaces or objects touched by an infected person. Children with Norovirus should therefore stay at home until at least two days after they are symptom free. This helps prevent them from spreading the virus to classmates, including other children with serious health conditions who may be more vulnerable to infection.
The best way to avoid catching or spreading the virus is to wash your hands regularly hand, avoid sharing towels and disinfect surfaces that an infected person has touched.
If you do develop symptom you should not prepare food for others and avoid direct contact with others for at least 48 hours after your symptoms disappear. You should also drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. If symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness you should contact your GP.
For further information and advice on norovirus visit www.nhsinform.co.uk/norovirus
Issued by NHS Forth Valley’s Communication Department on 01786 457264.