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  1. ITV Report

Norovirus outbreak disrupts Whitehaven hospital

Credit: ITV Border

Visiting restrictions remain in place at Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital because of a winter vomiting bug.

Ward three has been closed to visitors for more than a week.

Hospital bosses say the closure is needed to keep the norovirus outbreak under control.

The NHS are asing people to stay at home if they have symptoms of flu or norovirus and not visit vulnerable patients in hospitals, care homes and the wider community, to limit the spread of any infection.

“When we have loved ones who are poorly and in hospital, it’s natural we want to be with them, even if we’re feeling under the weather ourselves. When a flu or norovirus outbreak occurs, particularly in an environment like a hospital, it is difficult to contain and can lead to the closure of entire wards, putting a huge strain on local NHS resources.”

– Clive Graham, Consultant Medical Microbiologist

Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the UK, affecting people of all ages. Like the flu, it spreads rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes.

It can be spread through contact with an infected person, by contact with contaminated surfaces or by consuming contaminated food or water.

There is no treatment for norovirus but it is important people who have the winter vomiting bug keep hydrated to combat the loss of fluids.

People with norovirus will recover in a day or two, but will remain infectious for up to three days after recovery.

Common symptoms of flu include a high temperature, fatigue, headache, general aches and pains and a dry, chesty cough.

The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help lower a high temperature and relieve aches.

Anyone who thinks they may have flu or norovirus is advised not to visit a GP surgery, but to stay at home and call NHS 111 for advice if necessary.