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By Tim Clarke Thursday 15 November 2012 Updated: 22/11 14:17
VISITORS are being asked to stay away from Worcestershire's three main hospitals as they battle to contain an outbreak of norovirus.
Visiting restrictions have been stepped up at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcestershire Royal and Kidderminster Hospital as the number of cases of the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug continues to grow.
People are now only allowed to visit patients under exceptional circumstances.
Four wards are currently closed at Worcestershire Royal Hospital but Evesham and Pershore Community Hospitals are currently unaffected by the restrictions.
Anyone with symptoms of norovirus such as diarrhoea and vomiting are being asked to stay at home and telephone their GP or NHS Direct rather than risk transmitting the infection further.
Helen Blanchard, chief nursing officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "There are now an increasing number of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in the community, which is expected at this time of year. We already have in place stringent infection prevention and control procedures in preparation for this predominantly winter illness. "
"It can be very difficult to contain the spread of this extremely contagious illness and we are therefore working with colleagues in the community to provide more care in the home unless the patient requires admission because of additional health concerns. By working together we can reduce the risk of spreading the infection to patients and staff.”
There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course, but there are some simple infection control procedures to follow:
· Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
· Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
· Food preparation for others should be avoided until 48 hours after symptoms have subsided.
· Telephone your GP or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice if the symptoms do not quickly subside or you have additional concerns.
For the latest information on visiting restrictions go to www.worcsacute.nhs.uk
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