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Winter Illness

Winter traditionally sees an increase in the spread of viral infections such as gastroenteritis (Norovirus) and respiratory infections such as flu.  With this in mind, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT) is appealing to the public to take appropriate action to help to limit and prevent the spread of such conditions to hospital patients.

Julie Smith, Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “We are asking that if anybody was planning on visiting a patient in hospital, and that they themselves feel unwell or have experienced diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting over past 48 hours, that they postpone their visit.

“Patients who are in hospital tend to be ill already and have lower immune systems, meaning that they may be more vulnerable to picking up such viruses.

“If you are feeling unwell, we would suggest phoning the ward to check on relatives rather than risk passing on infections by visiting in person.  We are happy for patients to make and receive calls on their mobile telephones in day rooms, and staff can facilitate a bedside telephone call for those whose mobility is limited.

“The Trust has stringent hygiene measures in place and a rigorous cleaning schedule.  Visitors are asked to remember to wash their hands when coming onto or leaving a ward area, and to use the hand gels provided at the entrance and exit to all patient areas.

“The comfort and care of our patients remains our top priority, and we will continue to do everything possible to protect our patients from these winter viruses.”

Additional Information

Norovirus is the most common form of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs) in England and Wales and affects between 600,000 and one million people in the UK every year. The viruses are easily transmitted from person to person, which can often lead to outbreaks particularly in semi-closed environments such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes and cruise ships.

Symptoms, which begin with sudden nausea followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea, start around 12 to 48 hours after infection and can last between 12 and 60 hours. People can also suffer from a raised temperature, aching limbs and headaches.

There is no specific treatment other than drinking plenty of fluids. Particularly vulnerable people, such as the elderly or very young, are prone to dehydration and should take extra care. The most effective way to respond to an outbreak is to disinfect contaminated areas and isolate those infected for up to 48 hours after symptoms have ceased.