Nurse asks people not to come to hospital if they have diarrhoea and sickness

A nurse is reminding people not to visit hospitals if they have symptoms of diarrhoea and sickness.

Lisa Johnson, nurse consultant director of Infection Prevention and Control at NHS Kernow, said if the symptoms have an infectious cause there is a risk to others from the moment you arrive at hospital and even if you are sent home the infection may already have been passed on.

“If you think your symptoms are due to something you have caught remember that something you can catch is something you can spread” she said

There are different causes for diarrhoea and sickness but the most common cause is Norovirus.

Lisa added: “If the symptoms come on suddenly, nausea, projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea then it is very likely to be Norovirus. It is normal to feel pretty awful with Norovirus, drained, washed out with aching limbs and ribs from being sick, things should improve from the second day.

“The best place you can be is in your home, with your own bowl and your own toilet. Try and rest and stay hydrated as these infectious bugs pass quite quickly in healthy people.

“If your symptoms don’t follow this pattern or don’t resolve you should phone NHS111 or your GP for an assessment to made. It is important to stay home until the symptoms are assessed. Even if you do need some rehydration treatment your Doctor should be able to arrange this for you at home.”

Simple ‘dos and don’ts’ such as washing your hands properly, being very careful with the handling of food and avoiding contact with other people who show symptoms will all help avoid getting infected.

Other top tips include:

  • Do not visit your GP surgery emergency department. You will recover naturally without treatment, but it is important to rest and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Do not visit friends or relatives in hospitals or residential care homes to avoid introducing the infection to environments where it could spread easily and put vulnerable people at greater risk.
  • Stay away from work, school or college until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.
  • Do not handle or prepare food for other people until you have been symptom free for a minimum period of 48 hours.
  • Do not attend social gatherings until you have been free of all symptoms for at least 48 hours.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly at all times, but particularly after toilet visits and before eating.
  • Do not share towels with others. If possible, use paper towels after hand-washing and dispose of them immediately.
  • Make sure that any surface that is contaminated by vomit or faeces is promptly and thoroughly disinfected after an episode of illness.
  • If your symptoms persist or appear to be worsening, phone your family doctor or NHS 111 for advice.
  • If you have bloody diarrhoea (blood in your stools), phone your doctor or NHS 111 urgently for advice.