Sickness and diarrhoea
Regularly reinforce hand hygiene procedures to help reduce incidents of diarrhoea and vomiting (D&V).
All you need to know in 30 seconds
- Diarrhoea and vomiting (D&V) is very infectious.
- It is more likely to be caught outside of hospitals due to hospital hand hygiene policies.
- D&V symptoms include: nausea, fever, pains, vomiting and loose watery bowel movements.
- An employee in a clinical role with these symptoms should not attend work.
- Ensure they stay off work until they are 48 hours symptom free before returning To limit the spread of infection advise your employee to avoid visiting GP surgeries or hospitals, practice good hand hygiene and not prepare food for others.
- Record absence due to active symptoms on SSTS as sick leave. Periods where the individual is prevented, due to infection control/prevention, from coming to work should be recorded under Infection Control on SSTS.
- Familiarise yourself with the NHSGGC’s Standard Operating Procedure for healthcare workers with symptoms of infection and; inform your team of this and what is expected of them.
All you need to know in detail
Diarrhoea is when a person experiences loose and watery bowel movements much more frequently than usual. It has multiple causes, including medication and bacterial or parasitic infections and viruses. These can also cause periods of vomiting which should be treated with the same caution as diarrhoea. Other symptoms include nausea, fever and stomach pains.
Some people think that sickness and diarrhoea, sometimes referred to as D&V (Diarrhoea and Vomiting) is common in hospitals. However due to hospital hand hygiene procedures D&V is more likely to be picked up outside of a hospital.
Regularly reinforce hand hygiene procedures to help reduce incidents of D&V. A person with diarrhoea and vomiting should be considered very infectious. If an employee in a clinical area has these symptoms advise them to:
- stay off work until they have 48 hours symptom free
- seek medical advice if they feel very unwell, preferably via phone
- avoid visiting hospital or a GP surgery where possible as this could spread infection
- avoid preparing food that others will consume until they are 48 hours symptom free
- drink plenty of fluids to counteract the dehydration these symptoms cause
Follow cleanliness advice for D&V Work with your employee to ensure they know to stay away from work until they are free of symptoms for 48 hours. When the employee is prevented from attending work due to infection control/prevention this should be recorded under Infection Control on SSTS. During the period where the employee was unwell with active symptoms this should be recorded as sick leave. Familiarise yourself with the NHSGG’s Standard Operating Procedure for healthcare workers with symptoms of infection and; inform your team of this and what is expected of them.