Winter viruses – help us keep our patients safe

This winter help us to protect our patients from highly contagious winter infections such as flu and diarrhoea and vomiting, also known as norovirus. When these infections are brought into a hospital environment, it can easily spread to staff and vulnerable hospital patients. 

Seasonal flu

Flu is a common infectious viral illness and is also highly contagious. Main symptoms include raised temperatures, tiredness and general exhaustion, headaches and general aches and pains.

You should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, rest at home and keep warm.

More information and advice about flu is available on NHS Choices.

Norovirus (diarrhoea and vomiting)

Norovirus, also known as ‘winter vomiting disease’, is highly contagious. It affects people of all ages and can be spread very easily through water, food, air and contact. Symptoms include vomiting, projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and raised temperatures. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, please do not visit the hospital. 

There is no specific treatment for norovirus, but you should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. If you are worried or concerned, call NHS 111 in the first instance for advice.

More information about norovirus is available on NHS Choices.

How you can help

If you are feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms or diarrhoea or vomiting:

  • Please do not visit the hospital until you have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.
  • If you have an urgent appointment or it is essential to visit a friend/relative, speak to the department manager or ward sister/manager first.
  • Wash and dry your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the bathroom and before touching food. Don’t rely on alcohol hand sanitiser alone.
  • Do not visit the hospital if you are living in the same household as someone who has symptoms of norovirus or flu.
  • Catch it, bin it, kill it – if you have flu-like symptoms, use tissues when you sneeze and to blow your nose, then discard tissues into waste bins immediately. Wash your hands thoroughly after.
  • Always follow our do’s and don’ts to help keep yourself, our patients and staff safe.

Thank you for helping us to keep our patients safe.