As local hospitals continue to face severe disruption due to norovirus and high attendances, Lincolnshire’s four Clinical Commissioning Groups are urging people to stay away from hospital wherever possible.
Working in conjunction with United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), which manages Lincoln, Boston and Grantham hospitals, the CCGs are keen to get the message across to people that they should not visit hospital, even to see family and friends, unless is it absolutely necessary.
“In addition to the pressure A&E is under, our local hospitals are also dealing with high attendances and an outbreak of norovirus, the latter of which is particularly affecting Lincoln County Hospital,” explains Tracy Pilcher, Chief Nurse, Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group.
“ULHT needs all of us to help it manage the situation and the best way the public can help is by staying away from hospital and using other sources of information, such as NHS 111, local pharmacies, walk-in centres and minor injuries units, for healthcare advice.”
In an effort to contain the norovirus outbreak, ULHT has also restricted visiting at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and Grantham and District Hospital for anyone tempted to visit.
Potentially serious for people who are already ill or those with long-term conditions, symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting. Good hand hygiene can help limit the spread of infection and whilst people usually recover without treatment in 24 – 72 hours, it is important to stay away from work, school, college or social gatherings until symptom free for at least 48 hours.
Most cases of diarrhoea clear up after a few days without treatment, however, it can lead to dehydration, so you should drink plenty of fluids (small, frequent sips of water) until it passes. It is very important that babies and small children do not become dehydrated. You should eat solid food as soon as you feel able to. If you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby and they have diarrhoea, you should try to feed them as normal.
In terms of alternative sources of healthcare and information, local pharmacies are able to provide a wealth of confidential and expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. In addition, NHS 111 can support when medical help is needed fast but not in an emergency and is available 24/7 365 days of the year.