Help stop the spread of Norovirus in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire this winter

People living in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being asked to help stop the spread of Norovirus this winter by following some simple steps.

Norovirus – often referred to as the winter vomiting bug – is a very unpleasant and highly contagious stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

Although most people will recover within a few days, if it is introduced unintentionally into schools, nurseries, hospitals or care homes, it can spread incredibly quickly and affect vulnerable people.

Norovirus is already causing problems in hospitals across the area and has led to ward closures and had an impact on waiting times.

To help reduce norovirus-related problems this winter, health and care leaders in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire are asking people to play their part in stopping the spread of the condition by just thinking NORO:

N     No visits to hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of Norovirus – send someone else to visit loved ones
       until you are better.
O     Once you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours, you’re safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes
R     Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food
O     Only hand-washing will prevent spread of norovirus – alcohol hand gels DON’T kill the virus

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP in Market Lavington and Clinical Chair of the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“There have already been a number of clinical settings across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire affected by norovirus and we’re keen to keep these to a minimum as our health and care services begin to experience increased demand on services this winter.

Self-treating at home is the best way to help yourself and avoid putting others at risk. You don’t normally need to see your GP as usually drinking plenty of water and taking paracetamol to relieve pain will help.

If you’re concerned, the NHS 111 phone or online service is a helpful alternative to going to your GP in person for advice.”

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs said:
“At this time of the year we all need to be extra vigilant about the dangers of catching and spreading norovirus.

No one wants to suffer the effects of this unpleasant disease and we need to do all we can to minimise the disruption it can have on our hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, schools and nurseries.

Taking a few very simple steps can really help to address this problem. I’d urge everyone in our local area to makes sure they are washing their hands regularly with soap and water, keeping away from hospitals and GP surgeries if they have the condition and waiting at least 48 hours after symptoms have gone before returning to work or school.”