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Ward At Caithness General Closed Due To Diarrhoea and Vomiting

9th March 2015

Photograph of Ward At Caithness General Closed Due To Diarrhoea and Vomiting

A ward at Caithness General Hospital has been closed to new admissions and visitors are being asked to stay away while staff deal with several cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Bignold Wing currently has seven patients affected and samples have shown that norovirus is present in the ward.

The virus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited and is extremely infectious. It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks.

Dr Adam Brown, Consultant Microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: "By closing the ward to new admissions and restricting visiting to the affected areas it helps our staff protect the health, privacy and dignity of our patients.

"We would also ask that people do not come to the hospital/s to visit if they have, or live with someone who has, had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 48hrs. By doing this we will be able to limit the spread as much as possible.

"Hospital staff will of course be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are."

If you feel that visiting is essential please contact the ward first by phone before coming to the hospital.

There is no specific treatment for a norovirus infection and it is not usually necessary to visit a doctor. The best course of action is to stay at home and to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. People should also adhere to strict hand washing techniques to reduce the spread of the virus.

The public can help to minimise the spread by following some simple rules:-

• Do not visit a hospital if you or someone you live with has symptoms. If you have a hospital appointment, please get in touch and, where appropriate, your appointment can be rescheduled.
• Wait until you have been clear of symptoms for 48 hours, as you may still be contagious, even if you feel well.
• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating.
• If you visit someone in hospital, don't sit on their bed and keep the number of visitors to a minimum at any one time. Never touch dressings, drips, or other equipment around the bed.

For more information about hand hygiene visit the Scottish National Hand Hygiene Campaign website www.washyourhandsofthem.com

Earlier 2 March 2014
Diarrhoea and vomiting at Thurso care home

Bayview House Care Home in Thurso has been closed to new admissions and visitors are being asked to stay away while staff deal with cases of diarrhoea and vomiting at the premises.

Sixteen members of staff and 14 residents at the NHS Highland care home have been unwell, and one staff member and one resident have been tested positive for norovirus.

The health board's district manager for Caithness, Mike Flavell, explained: “Residents started getting symptoms on Wednesday, 25th February, and staff the following day.

“The home was closed to visitors on Thursday, and norovirus was confirmed the following day.

“No further cases have been confirmed since the home was closed to visitors and I am delighted to say that those members of staff not affected by the virus are coping well with the situation."

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited and is extremely infectious. It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks.

Dr Jonty Mills, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “By restricting visiting to the affected area it helps staff to protect the health, privacy and dignity of the home’s residents.

“We would also ask that people do not go to the home to visit if they have, or live with someone who has, had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 48 hours. By doing this we will be able to limit the spread as much as possible.

“The home’s staff will of course be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are. If anyone feels that visiting is essential I would ask them to please contact the home first by phone.”

There is no specific treatment for a norovirus infection and it is not usually necessary to visit a doctor. The best course of action is to stay at home, take Paracetamol to relieve symptoms of any fever and to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. People should also adhere to strict hand-washing techniques to reduce the spread of the virus.

The public can help to minimise the spread by following some simple rules:-

• Do not visit a hospital or care home if you or someone you live with has symptoms. If you have a hospital appointment, please get in touch and, where appropriate, your appointment can be rescheduled.

• Wait until you have been clear of symptoms for 48 hours, as you may still be contagious, even if you feel well.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating.

• If you visit someone in hospital or care home, don't sit on their bed and keep the number of visitors to a minimum at any one time. Never touch dressings, drips, or other equipment around the bed.

For more information about hand hygiene visit the Scottish National Hand Hygiene Campaign website www.washyourhandsofthem.com

Facts about norovirus:

• Norovirus occurs all year round, particularly every winter, in the community, and is unrelated to hospital cleanliness.
• There is no vaccine.
• The virus continually changes and people don’t develop lasting immunity, so you can catch it more than once in a season.
• Norovirus can survive for days on any surface - including exposed food and wrapped food items.

Advice to the public:

• Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, is a highly contagious virus which causes vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
• The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea.
• Symptoms usually last a couple of days, although this can be longer in elderly people.
• People are most likely to spread infection when they have symptoms and for up to 48 hours after your symptoms have gone.
• It is more serious and even more easily spread among people who are already ill.

 

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