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Remember the code to help beat Norovirus this Christmas
19 December 2017

Portsmouth area GPs today urged people to protect themselves against the winter vomiting bug Norovirus. 

Every winter, healthcare services face disruption when many people unintentionally bring Norovirus into hospitals and nursing homes when visiting loved ones. 

With less than a week to go until Christmas Day, NHS Fareham and Gosport, Portsmouth, and South East Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are urging the public to take simple steps to stop the spread of the virus, particularly to vulnerable people. 

Dr Elizabeth Fellows, the urgent care lead for the three CCGs, said: “Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Most people will recover within a few days and can return to work or school. 

“But if Norovirus is introduced unintentionally into care homes and hospitals by visitors it can cause huge upheaval, leading to ward closures and making it difficult for healthcare workers to treat vulnerable patients at what is always the busiest time of the year.” 

Please remember the messaging behind this four-letter code: 

N     No visits to hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of Norovirus - send someone else to visit loved ones until you are better

O     Once you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours, you’re safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals and care home

R     Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food

O     Only hand-washing will prevent spread of Norovirus - alcohol hand gels DON’T kill the virus. 

Dr Fellows, who chairs Portsmouth CCG, said: “The symptoms of norovirus include suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting, and watery diarrhoea. Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs. The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to two or three days. 

“If you think that you have the Norovirus symptoms, we would ask you to delay that visit to see a loved one in a care home or hospital this Christmas. Send someone else in your place, stay away until you have been free of symptoms for 48 hours – and give your relative the gift of a healthy happy Christmas day.”

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