Let's Talk About Norovirus

Let's talk about norovirus


What is it?   Norovirus is a common cause of gastroenteritis (tummy bug) in both the community and healthcare settings. There is often an increase in cases during the winter months, but it can appear at any time of year.
The illness usually starts with a sudden onset of vomiting or diarrhoea and can also include flu-like symptoms and stomach cramps. Once infected it can take 24-48 hours to develop symptoms, and may last for 24-48 hours.
How did I get it?   From contact with the vomit or diarrhoea of an infected person
How is it passed on?   The virus can be transferred by;
• Person to person via the hands of an infected person who has visited the toilet and not washed their hands
• Breathing in the virus from the air
• Vomit or faecal contamination of equipment or the environment which you then touch
Who is at risk?   All patients and staff are at risk, but some patients are more vulnerable than others
How can we stop the spread?   • Patients with symptoms of infective diarrhoea and vomiting should be isolated in a side room to prevent the spread of infection.
• Staff should wear gloves and aprons when caring for a patient with Norovirus
• The simplest most effective measure in preventing the spread of infection is hand hygiene, as per the 'My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene'
• Hand hygiene using soap and water is necessary as the alcohol rub is ineffective against Norovirus
• Do not be afraid to ask staff whether they have washed their hands
What can you do?   Clean your hands after going to the toilet, and before and after eating
• If you have any symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting either prior to coming into hospital, or during your stay, inform the staff caring for you
• If you are being nursed in a side room it is important that you follow the instructions given
What does it mean for you and your family?   • Visitors will normally be allowed, but should not visit if they have had symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, and for 48 hours after the last symptom as they could still pass the virus on
• Visitors must follow any instructions given
• It should not be necessary for you to remain in hospital because of Norovirus if you are returning to your own home
For further information:  
  1. Download our information leaflet
  2. Read more about our national work to manage norovirus in the hospital environment 
  3. Visit the NHS Choices website
  4. Visit the Public Health England website

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