Local people in North Tyneside are being reminded to wash their hands to prevent infection

People in North Tyneside are being reminded to wash their hands to help prevent the spread of seasonal infections such as winter vomiting.

Every year, particularly when the weather gets colder, viruses like norovirus, colds, and flu are more common.

However, Dr John Matthews, clinical chair (designate) of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding people that frequent hand washing and disposing of used tissues, can be the most effective way to help prevent the spread of these illnesses.

He said: “Norovirus - also known as winter vomiting disease - is highly infectious and can cause a very unpleasant but generally short-lived illness from which people will recover without treatment.

“Norovirus can spread rapidly in communities such as hospitals, care homes, sheltered housing accommodation and schools which is why people should stay away from work or school until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.

“Something as simple as washing your hands can go some way in preventing the spread of diseases.”

Dr Matthews continued: “The main symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea and unfortunately there is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course.  Thankfully most people will make a full recovery within one to two days.

“If the illness persists for more than a few days, they should contact their family doctor by phone or take advice from NHS Direct on 0845 4647.”

Director for public health for North Tyneside, Mrs Marietta Evans, added: “Norovirus in particular is extremely contagious so it is important that if you think you may have caught it, that you avoid contact with others and remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Particular attention should be paid to elderly people or children who may be worse affected.”

Thorough cleaning of surfaces with a bleach based solution – especially the toilet and toilet area - and cleaning up vomit and the surrounding area quickly will all help to reduce the risk of spreading the infection when other people come into contact with these surfaces.

The CCG is working towards becoming authorised as it prepares to take on new statutory duties for the planning and purchasing of healthcare and health services for the people of the borough. NHS North Tyneside CCG is working closely with NHS North of Tyne, the current commissioners of NHS services in the county, to start taking on new responsibilities from April 2013.

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