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Public reminded of their role to help reduce the spread of bugs this winter

Friday, 09 December, 2016
Public reminded of their role to help reduce the spread of bugs this winter

People in Northumberland and North Tyneside are being reminded about the importance of good hand hygiene and practising self-care to help reduce the spread of winter bugs in healthcare settings.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is keen for the public to help stop the spread of diarrhoea and vomiting – known as norovirus – which is currently circulating in the community.

Norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and is also called the ‘winter vomiting bug’ because it is most prevalent at this time of the year. It usually clears up by itself within a few days.

Norovirus can spread very easily and people with symptoms should stay at home, stay well hydrated and wash their hands regularly. To reduce the spread of the bug, they must not return to work or school, or visit hospitals or care homes, until they have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

The advice is part of Northumbria Healthcare backing the NHS’ national Stay Well This Winter campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, to help the public ward off common winter illnesses.

Diane Sisterson, lead nurse for infection prevention and control at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “People can get norovirus at any time of the year, though it’s particularly common during the winter where it often circulates in the community, and due to its highly infectious nature, can affect people in care homes and hospitals.

“Whilst it is unpleasant, it is rarely serious and typically lasts two to three days. People should stay at home to recover, drink plenty of fluids and remember to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water at regular intervals to reduce the likelihood of it spreading. This is the single most important thing people can do to help stop the spread of norovirus.

“If you have symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea, or are looking after children with these symptoms, it is vital that you do not return to work or school until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

“For the same reason, it’s also really important that you wait two days since your last symptoms before visiting loved ones in care homes or in hospitals to reduce the risk of it being passed on to vulnerable people, and prolonging their recovery.”

Advice on norovirus and other common winter ailments is always available online from NHS Choices or by calling NHS 111 if symptoms persist.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign gives people helpful tips and advice on how to look after themselves well during the colder weather and to access the most appropriate service for the severity of their condition. Visit for more information.