Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hospitals Tell Norovirus Sufferers to 'Stay Away'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hospitals Tell Norovirus Sufferers to 'Stay Away'

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Dickinson Reporter

OUTBREAKS of norovirus have forced several ward closures across three North East hospitals.

The Northumbria Healthcare NHS trust has confirmed North Tyneside General, Wansbeck and the Northumbria Hospital in Cramlington have been hit by outbreaks.

The trust, which runs hospitals across North Tyneside and Northumberland, has sealed several wards after patients were struck down with the winter vomiting bug.

Medical staff are now urging people not to visit hospital sites unless absolutely necessary if they have any symptoms of the highly contagious illness.

And visits to sick patients are being officially restricted in a bid to stop it spreading.

The virus usually starts with a sense of feeling sick which is then followed by vomiting, and watery, loose diarrhoea.

Depending on the person it can also include stomach cramps, general aches and pains, headaches and fever.

It is highly contagious and can spread at incredible speed in a number of ways.

The trust's medical director, Jeremy Rushmer, said: "Every year we are affected by norovirus to one degree or another - this year is part of that pattern.

"The issue is that, given how fast it spreads, we often have to close whole areas; this at a time when the whole system is already under unsustainable pressure.

"It's now severe enough that we are asking people to not visit our sites unless it is absolutely necessary.

"If someone you know has symptoms of norovirus do not visit - you risk causing harm to them, yourself and those close to you. If you have symptoms yourself - stay away.

"There is no cure; you just have to wait it out."

The risk of norovirus is most effectively reduced by good hygiene and using common sense.

Director of nursing, Ellie Monkhouse, said: "We are really struggling with norovirus at the moment and we have several wards closed, which is having quite an impact on patients.

"If you do come and visit a hospital please make sure you wash your hands - it's the best form of resistance. If you are displaying any of the symptoms, such as stomach pains, fever or diarrhoea, please don't come to the hospital without ringing the ward beforehand. …

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