INFECTION Prevention specialists at Hywel Dda University Health Board are advising the public to avoid coming into hospital to visit relatives and friends if they themselves are suffering from a virus or infection.

With winter having firmly landed, Fran Howells, Senior Infection Prevention Nurse at Hywel Dda, says many people don’t see the unintended consequences of visiting their loved ones if they’re suffering from a seasonal illness such as Norovirus, Influenza and Diarrhoea and Vomiting.

But the effects can be severe as wards may have to be closed off and sick patients moved to isolation rooms to recover, increasing their length of stay and reducing the availability of beds for new patients, while nursing and medical staff may themselves be forced to take sick leave.

Fran said: “It is winter time, and we’re into the season of coughs, colds, flu and Norovirus. If we have an outbreak of Norovirus or Influenza on a ward it has a major impact. The emphasis at this time of year is on hand hygiene from staff, patients and visitors to prevent viruses spreading in our hospitals.

“With flu and similar illnesses anyone experiencing coughs or feeling unwell we ask not to attend hospital unless they have a medical emergency.

“If they’re experiencing high temperatures or vomiting or any signs of diarrhoea we kindly ask them to stay away until their symptoms have stopped for at least 48 hours.”

For further advice on preventing the spread of infection please click here.

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