By Ian Dipple Monday 22 October 2012 Updated: 23/10 16:52
RESIDENTS are being told to stay away from hospital if they have experienced diarrhoea or vomiting.
The two wards at the Alexandra Hospital affected by norovirus have reopened, but health chiefs say while no more cases of the bug have been identified, the number of cases within the community is known to be increasing.
As a result people who have experienced symptoms of the bug within the last 72 hours are being urged not to go into the hospital - including A&E or to visit patients - but are instead being told to stay at home and follow simple hygiene procedures to limit the spread of the infection.
Stewart Messer, chief operating officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "There are now increasing numbers of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in the community, which is expected at this time of year.
"We already have in place stringent infection prevention and control procedures in preparation for this predominantly winter illness. It can be very difficult to contain the spread of this extremely contagious illness and we are therefore working with colleagues in the community to provide more care in the home unless the patient requires admission because of additional health concerns.
"By working together we can reduce the risk of spreading the infection to patients and staff, and therefore risking the possibility of ward closures.
"We really appreciate the public support when we have to impose visiting restrictions. Limiting the number of people coming into our hospital wards significantly reduces the risk of spread of norovirus."
Mr Messer added there was no specific treatment for the bug apart from just letting the illness run its course, but people struck down with diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms should follow simple measures such as drinking plenty of fluids, washing their hands thoroughly after using the toilet and avoiding preparing food for 48 hours until after symptoms have subsided.
Anyone who starts to feel worse should call their GP or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice.
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