Patients with norovirus bug and minor illnesses urged not to go to busy Warwickshire A&E departments

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WITH A&E departments at local hospitals currently very busy, people in Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to avoid going if they’re suffering with minor illnesses - particularly the norovirus bug.

NHS Warwickshire is reminding people that A&E departments are there to deal with very serious illnesses and injuries that require immediate hospital attention. However, many people still visit each day when other more appropriate services would have been quicker for them and cheaper for the NHS.

There are a wide range of NHS services available such as self care; community pharmacies; local GPs and the walk-in centre which could provide the right care.

NHS Warwickshire said it needs to keep its A&E departments free to focus on more serious accidents and emergencies and do not want these patients exposed to norovirus from people unnecessarily attending the hospital.

Norovirus is a bug which results in a short bout of diarrhoea and vomiting that should clear up within 24-72 hours.

Health professionals are asking the public to help prevent the spread of norovirus, which can be very dangerous to elderly and sick people, by staying away from hospital if at all possible if they have currently got diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms or have had such symptoms in the past 3-4 days. Members of the public are also asked take note of the following advice:

Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Take regular paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains in accordance with the advice leaflet.

If you feel like eating, eat foods that are easy to digest.

Consider staying at home if you have norovirus symptoms and get telephone healthcare advice from NHS Direct or Warwickshire Healthline.

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. If you are in an NHS facility, use the hand gels available.

Ensure that toilet areas in your home are kept clean, particularly if you have been experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Wash any clothing or linen that could be contaminated with norovirus.

Disinfect any hard surfaces that could be contaminated.

Stay away from hospitals, work, public places, school or social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

John Linnane, Director of Public Health at NHS Warwickshire, said: “People can help in preventing the spread of Norovirus by taking necessary precautions. You can take simple actions like: washing your hands with soap and water; ensuring that that the toilet area at home is kept clean from vomit and diarrhoea; and staying away from other people for at least 48 hours. If you are worried about prolonged symptoms, you can contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or ring your GP practice. People living in Warwickshire can call Warwickshire Healthline on 03000 247 111 for health information and advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”