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We are asking visitors to help us protect patients from highly contagious winter infections by not visiting friends and relatives in hospital when you have been unwell or in close contact with someone with flu or norovirus.

We are experiencing a high level of norovirus and flu in our hospitals, which has resulted in the closure of wards and bays in order to stop the spread.  Closing wards can help to contain the viruses but visitors can play a huge part and we would ask you to think carefully before paying any non-essential visits at this time.

While viruses are active year-round, winter is a prime time for norovirus, colds and influenza, commonly known as flu.  These infections are highly contagious, so when they are brought into a hospital environment they can easily spread to staff and vulnerable hospital patients.

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK.  It's also called the ‘winter vomiting bug’ because it's more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year.  Norovirus can be very unpleasant but it usually clears up by itself in a few days.

Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes.  It is a major killer of vulnerable people.  People aged 65 and over and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, are particularly at risk.  If you have flu, please stay away until you are better.  The virus is highly infectious and outbreaks can happen quickly.

Please stay away if you have signs or symptoms of either virus, and do not visit until you have been clear of symptoms for at least 48 hours.  If symptoms persist (more than 48 hours), the advice is to phone your GP or NHS 111.