DOCTORS have issued a norovirus warning, after a sudden surge in patients coming to East Surrey Hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting.
Anyone with those symptoms is asked to ring their GP for advice, and not to visit their surgery or hospital.
Busy waiting rooms are thought to be a major factor in the spread of conditions such as norovirus.
People visiting friends or relatives in hospital are asked to stay away if they or anyone they have been in contact with, has had the symptoms in the last two days.
A statement from Jo Thomas, chief nurse of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Remembering not to come into hospital as a visitor if you’ve been ill can help us stop bugs, such as norovirus, from taking hold in our hospital.
“We work incredibly hard to ensure that infections can’t spread from patient to patient, or ward to ward but all these efforts can be undone by someone who comes into hospital as a visitor while they are still carrying a bug such as norovirus.”
When norovirus affects patients, visitors are restricted, but it can be a visitor who brings the virus onto the ward in the first place.
Infection control nurse Ashley Flores said: “An attack of norovirus – which often means acute vomiting and diarrhoea – is unpleasant for anyone, but if you’re already ill, elderly or otherwise vulnerable – as people in hospital generally are – catching the virus can be more serious.”
The main advice for patients is to drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids and, as norovirus is extremely infectious, keeping hard surfaces clean and washing hands thoroughly will go a long way in reducing the spread.
Although norovirus symptoms are unpleasant they rarely last long and most patients will make a full recovery without medical help.