Posted on December 09, 2016

NOROVIRUS (VIRAL GASTROENTERITIS) ALERT


NLG Health Alerts regarding potential public health risks are an important part of our primary commitment to the health and well-being of the healthcare professionals, workers, patients and clients we serve. We issue these alerts when we become aware of evidence of increased public health risk or when we are advised of an outbreak in wards/departments in facilities where you may be scheduled to work.

According to Public Health England, laboratory reports of norovirus in this season (since week 27 2016) are 55% higher than the same period last year and 9% higher than the average of the 5 periods from 2011/12 to 2015/16. 

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How to decrease your chance of infection and cross contamination of noroviruses
As you will be aware, NHS Infection Prevention Control guidance related to hand hygiene during an outbreak of gastroenteritis states that alcohol hand rub is NOT effective at killing the virus that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Therefore it is important that you wash hands with liquid soap and warm water when working in areas that have an outbreak of the norovirus and ensure adherence to the organisations infection prevention and control guidelines. 

A person with norovirus is most infectious from when their symptoms start until 48 hours after all their symptoms have passed, although they may also be infectious for a short time before and after this. You can get norovirus more than once because the virus is always changing, so your body is unable to build up long-term resistance to it.

Symptoms
The symptoms of norovirus are very distinctive:

  • suddenly feeling sick
  • projectile vomiting
  • watery diarrhoea

Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.
The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to two or three days.

What to do if you experience these symptoms

If you are part of NLG's workforce, please contact us immediately on 01482 60 60 40 (option 1). Norovirus can spread very easily, so you should wash your hands regularly while you're ill and stay off work until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared. To help you ease your symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains
  • Get plenty of rest

Additional palliative and treatment information is available here

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