Nottinghamshire hospitals' plea to sick visitors

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Sick visitors are being urged to stay away from Nottinghamshire hospitals - after one was seen vomiting into a sink.

The Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust has issued a warning about the spread of the sickness bug norovirus.

One ward at King's Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield, has been closed for five days because of the winter vomiting illness.

Nurses said sick visitors posed a serious risk to vulnerable patients.

What is the winter vomiting bug?

  • Norovirus is the most common cause of stomach bug in the UK, affecting between 600,000 and a million people each year
  • Around 12 to 48 hours after becoming infected, the virus causes sudden onset of nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea
  • The virus lives in the gut and is spread by poor hygiene i.e. not washing hands properly
  • It can survive outside of the body for days and outbreaks tend to affect more than 50% of susceptible people

Source: BBC Health

Suzanne Morris, infection prevention and control nurse consultant for the trust, said: "This is a common virus that circulates this time of year and there is an increase this year.

"As a result we are asking visitors, relatives and patients that if they have symptoms not to attend the hospital because it is very contagious and spreads easily.

"On one occasion we had a visitor vomiting in the sink which was unpleasant.

"For most people the virus is short lived but in hospital our patients are very vulnerable and the virus affects them for longer."

Ms Morris said the closed ward at King's Mill would reopen within the next 48 hours.

Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting or other "flu-like" signs.

The NHS guidelines say good hygiene can prevent the spreading of the infection such as washing hands regularly and disinfecting surfaces contaminated with the norovirus.

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