Fifers choked with the cold or a cough urged to stay away from hospital wards
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The appeal comes from NHS Fife after wards have operated for several months free of the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
It said that with temperatures cooling over recent weeks and with coughs, colds and stomach bugs again beginning to circulate, visitors are being reminded not to visit unless they are well to prevent viruses being passed to vulnerable patients, and the healthcare staff caring for them.
Janette Keenan, director of nursing, said it was vital visitors only attend if they are well enough to do so:
“Each winter we see an increase in the numbers of people falling ill with virus like colds, flu, as well as stomach bugs like norovirus. This is in addition to COVID, which doesn’t appear to follow the seasonal patterns we see with other viruses,” she said. “While for most people things like coughs, colds and stomach bugs can make us feel unwell for a few days, for those in hospital and who already vulnerable, these viruses can be much more serious.”
People intending to visit friends and loved ones in hospitals should avoid doing so if they are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms, such as a sore throat, a cough or a runny nose. Similarly, anyone who has experienced vomiting or diarrhoea should wait 48 hours after the symptoms subside before visiting anyone in hospital.
Visitors should also continue to follow the infection prevention guidance which still exists, including washing hands or using anti-bacterial gel on arrival and when leaving any ward area. While masks are no longer mandatory, those wishing to wear one can continue to do so.
Janette added: “In recent weeks we have again began to see an increase in the number of wards having to impose restrictions due to clusters of different viruses. It is hugely important that visitors help us prevent these illnesses being brought into our hospitals. By taking reasonable steps, like postponing your visit if you are or have recently been unwell, this helps prevent us having to close wards,t protects patients and hard-working NHS staff caring for them.”