Health bosses in Lincolnshire have urged people who have recently suffered from diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms to stay away from the County’s hospitals in order to keep patients and staff safe this Christmas.
Lincoln County Hospital has had to close three wards to admissions and restrict admissions to four more, because a number of patients and staff have symptoms of the virulent winter vomiting bug known as norovirus.
The closure and restricted admissions to wards is a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus and the beds will reopen for admissions once the patients have either been discharged and/or the area has been symptom free for 72 hours.
Michelle Rhodes, Director of Nursing at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The virus is not uncommon in the winter. These stomach bugs are highly contagious and can spread rapidly in places like hospitals who see hundreds of visitors every day.
“We need to make sure that we protect vulnerable patients and hospital staff so we are asking people to think carefully before visiting hospital if they or anyone in their family has had even mild symptoms of stomach upset in the last 72 hours.
“We know that sometimes people feel that they must take every opportunity to visit their sick friends or relatives, particularly at Christmas. However if they have been unwell, they could be putting others at risk. Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting and, just like flu, the virus can seriously affect vulnerable patients.
“If you have norovirus symptoms, please do not attend A&E. The best thing you can do is rest, and take plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.”