Sickness or diarrhoea? Stay away from A&E at Milton Keynes Hospital

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NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group and Milton Keynes University NHS Foundation Trust are urging the public to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious diarrhoea and vomiting bug, Norovirus.

Several cases have now been confirmed by the Milton Keynes Hospital.

Norovirus can be very dangerous to elderly and sick, and people are being asked to stay away from hospitals where possible if they have had any diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms.

They also urge you to take note of the following advice:

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. If you are in an NHS facility as well as washing your hands you should use the hand gels available.

Ensure that toilet areas in your home are kept clean, particularly if you have been experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Wash any clothing or linen that could be contaminated with norovirus.

Disinfect any hard surfaces that could be contaminated.

Stay away from hospitals, work, school or social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

“Milton Keynes Hospital is reporting that lots of people are going to A&E with diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms, which is having a severe impact on the department and patients who need life-saving treatment,” said Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of NHS Milton Keynes CCG.

“If you have symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting the best thing to do is to stay at home, keep hydrated and warm – symptoms usually pass within 24 to 48 hours. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water and rest. Stay away from hospitals, work, school or social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

“Unfortunately, sickness bugs are common at this time of year but they can usually be treated effectively at home. A&E is not the right place to go if you have sickness and diarrhoea as it needs to be kept free for those people who need emergency, life-saving treatment.”

The Infection Control Team from Milton Keynes University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our defences against the virus entering and then spreading through our hospital are strengthened from September onwards each year to try and halt this community based virus from affecting our ability to keep beds open for our patients needing emergency treatment and for those waiting for planned operations. In addition to the advice above, we recommend staying warm, resting and keeping hydrated.”

A&E is for accidents and emergencies only and departments are currently very busy. Members of the public are reminded not to attend A&E departments unless experiencing a genuine accident or emergency such as broken bones, heavy blood loss, chest pains or unconsciousness.

People experiencing minor illnesses or feeling under the weather should seek early advice from their local pharmacist. If you need medical help but it is not a 999 emergency, call NHS 111 – a free telephone advice service, which is open 24/7.