VISITING is restricted at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary where 10 patients are suffering from norovirus.
Members of the public are being told to 'watch out' for symptoms of the illness, in a bid to halt its spread across the sites.
Local people are asked not to visit any hospital if they have suffered from, or been in contact with someone, who has suffered from diarrhoea or vomiting recently.
The winter vomiting disease has already struck three patients in a bay on the Acute Medical Unit and seven on ward 20 at the hospital.
“If someone suspects they have Norovirus they should ensure they do not visit hospitals, schools or care homes to reduce the risk of them passing it on to others,” said Joann Morse, Deputy Chief Nurse at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust, which runs RLI.
“They should also avoid work and only return after they have been free of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours, as during this time infectious viruses may still be present.”
Visiting is restricted on ward 20 while the outbreak is tackled.
Ms Morse continued: “We have confirmed the patients are affected by Norovirus– and we would ask people to follow our advice to minimise its effects on the hospital, themselves and their families.”
Public Health England say:
o The symptoms usually last from 12 to 60 hours and will start with the sudden onset of nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea.
o Norovirus affects people of all ages.
o Most people recover very quickly but immunity to it is short-lived and it is easily transmitted from one person to another.
o It thrives in semi-closed environments where large numbers of people congregate, so schools, nursing homes and hospitals are most affected.
o It is important to be vigilant and good hand hygiene is particularly important in preventing yourself or others from becoming infected.
o This includes thorough hand washing especially after using the toilet, and any contaminated surface should be thoroughly disinfected after an episode of illness.
o Food preparation should also be avoided until three days after symptoms have disappeared.
o Unfortunately there is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course, therefore it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration especially in the very young or elderly.