In a special web broadcast NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's top Public Health Consultant, Dr Syed Ahmed, has issued key advice to residents on helping to tackle the Norovirus which is sweeping through UK communities.
In the broadcast - which today (11 January 2008) went live on the Health Board's website www.nhsggc.org.uk - Dr Ahmed talks through the steps that can be taken by everyone to minimise the risks of fuelling this year's particularly virulent strain of the virus.
He said: "Over the Christmas holidays many of us will have unfortunately experienced this virus first hand or at least know someone who has. Rates of the virus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, are higher than we normally expect at this time of year and nationally it is estimated that more than 100,000 people are catching the virus every week.
"The virus is so common in the community because it is very easily transmitted from one person to another. It can be also transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
"To help minimise the risks there are a few easy but effective measures everyone can take.
"There is no specific treatment for Norovirus, apart from letting the illness take its course. However, if you think you have the virus drink plenty of fluids, take paracetamol and stay warm.
"Good hygiene, particularly regular hand-washing is key to preventing further spread of the virus. This is especially important if you actually have the virus and will help prevent the contamination of close contacts. You should also avoid preparing food for others until 48-hours after your symptoms have subsided.
"Crucially though, is that those who have been infected should stay at home for 48-hours after their symptoms have completely ceased."
By staying at home for 48-hours people can not only reduce the prevalence of the virus in the community but can also significantly reduce its impact on hospitals, nursing homes and schools.
"Semi-enclosed areas such as hospitals and schools are particularly prone to the virus because of the close proximity of people to one another.
"We are monitoring this situation in our hospitals very closely and are doing all that we can to further prevent the spread of the virus but the community can help too.
"If you have friends or relatives in hospitals please keep visits to a minimum - try to limit your visits to once a day. Please also limit the number of visitors a patient receives to two per visit. Always wash your hands thoroughly or use alcohol hand gel before entering and leaving healthcare settings and most importantly, anyone who has experienced any symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting within the last forty-eight hours should not visit a hospital or care home."
http://www.nhsggc.org.uk/content/default.asp?page=s111_10_5The web broadcast can be viewed at
For more information on hand hygiene, including a step-by-step online demonstration of correct handwashing techniques, please visit Scotland's National Hand Hygiene campaign's website.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Press Office on 0141 201 4429.
Notes to Editors:
Dr Ahmed is available for interview today (11 January 2008). Please contact the Press Office on 0141 201 4429.
Images of Dr Ahmed are also available for download on our web based photo desk at www.nhsggc.org.uk.