Barnsley’s health chiefs are urging people with the winter vomiting bug ‘norovirus’ not to visit anyone in hospital, or turn up at Barnsley Hospital’s A&E department for treatment –  unless they have been advised to.

Norovirus is highly contagious

 “This weekend we have seen a small rise in people coming through the doors of the emergency department presenting with a combination of sickness and diarrhoea.

“Norovirus is highly contagious and just a handful of patients with norovirus can have a really big impact on how quickly we can see and treat A&E patients. We have to isolate patients suffering with sickness in one of the cubicles as they risk spreading the bug further, possibly to those already ill for whom the norovirus could be more serious, that cubicle then becomes unavailable for other patients arriving at hospital who may need emergency treatment.”

Dr Julian Humphrey, Consultant in A&E

Best advice for anyone suffering with sickness and diarrhoea

“Simply put please don’t go to the hospital if you have symptoms of cold, flu, vomiting or diarrhoea. Norovirus is a particular problem because it is spread between people very easily.

“It is unpleasant for those who get it but is not generally dangerous and most people will make a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see a doctor.

“Unless people are particularly concerned about their health, they should avoid going into hospital or visiting a GP – the best advice for anyone suffering from sickness and diarrhoea is to rest and drink plenty of fluids.”

“However, the elderly and very young can sometimes get more severe infection or become dehydrated. If that should be the case, they or their family, friends or the people who care for them should telephone their GP service or NHS Direct for advice.”

Elizabeth Shassere, director of public health for Barnsley

To reduce the risk of passing the virus onto others, wash your hands regularly and stay at home until you are clear of symptoms for 48 hours.

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