Torbay Council’s Public Health team is supporting the South West-wide #NoNoro4Xmas campaign, advising people to protect themselves and their loved ones from Norovirus this Christmas by taking simple steps to stop the spread of the virus.

Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. If it is introduced unintentionally into care homes and hospitals by visitors it can cause chaos, resulting in wards being closed to visitors and further patients.

To help stop the spread of Norovirus this Christmas, you can follow these simple steps:

N No visits to hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of Norovirus - send someone else to visit loved ones until you are better
O Once you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours, you’re safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals and care home
R Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food
O Only hand-washing will prevent spread of Norovirus - alcohol hand gels DON’T kill the virus

Councillor Jackie Stockman, Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, said: “No-one wants a vomiting bug as a Christmas present, but each winter many people unintentionally bring Norovirus into hospitals and care home when visiting loved ones.

“Whilst outbreaks of Norovirus in Torbay are actually down compared to last year, throughout the South West, incidents of the virus are increasing in care homes and hospitals.

“This can lead to ward closures and make it difficult for health care workers to treat vulnerable patients at the busiest time of the year. We are therefore urging the public to follow the simple steps to help stop the spread of Norovirus this Christmas”.

Fiona Neely, Consultant in Communicable Diseases for Public Health England South West, said: “The symptoms of Norovirus include suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting, and watery diarrhoea. Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.

“If you have any suspicion that you have the symptoms of Norovirus we would urge you to put off that visit to see a loved one in a care home or hospital this Christmas”.

News archive