NHS steps up virus control after Norovirus confirmed at Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton hospitals

THE NHS is appealing for help keeping East Devon's hospitals free from the Norovirus bug.

THE NHS is appealing for help keeping East Devon's hospitals free from the Norovirus bug.

Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton have this week confirmed they have cases of the virus.

In a bid to prevent the virus spreading further, Jane Barr, NHS Devon's lead nurse for infection control and prevention, is appealing to visitors to NHS Devon's community hospitals to keep them as free as possible from the Norovirus bug this winter.

She said closing wards or restricting visitors have been positive moves designed to curb the virus.

She said: "At this time of year cases of diarrhoea and vomiting, often called 'winter vomiting' are particularly common.

"In our hospitals we look after people who are unwell and may have reduced immunity. They are therefore more likely to catch Norovirus.

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"We are working very hard to identify and contain any cases of Norovirus in our hospitals. If we have any confirmed cases in our hospitals we will close bays or wards and restrict visiting.

"Out of NHS Devon's 21 community hospitals, the hospitals at Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Okehampton and Tiverton currently have confirmed cases of Norovirus.

"Norovirus affects almost one million people in the UK each year but while it is a very unpleasant illness, it is generally short-lived and people tend to recover without treatment.

"The main symptom is vomiting, which can come on very suddenly, and is often accompanied by diarrhoea. Some people may have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs.

"People who have these symptoms should stay away from hospitals or nursing homes until they have been free of symptoms for at least 72 hours. They should also stay away from work, or school, until they have recovered.

"Although it is not always possible to prevent getting a norovirus, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water and disinfecting surfaces or objects can help to limit the spread of the infection.