Hospital staff are reminding visitors to think carefully about their own health before visiting friends and family in hospital.

When the weather turns colder, there is an increase in the number of people who suffer with illnesses such as Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea. These bugs are easily spread from person to person, but especially to those people who are already vulnerable, such as hospital patients.

Yvonne Carter, head of infection, prevention and control at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “The rule is to leave 48 hours from the last symptom and then you will be non-infectious. Patients 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 and using hand sanitiser.”