Help protect our patients from winter illnesses

17 Jan 2024, 4 p.m.

Please help us to protect our patients and staff from highly contagious illnesses. COVID-19, influenza, other respiratory infections, norovirus (diarrhoea and vomiting) and measles easily spread.

When these infections are brought into a hospital environment, they can transfer to vulnerable patients and staff. 


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.

COVID-19 symptoms can include: 

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills)
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

For most people, their condition generally improves within a few days or weeks after the onset of initial COVID-19 symptoms.

However, for certain vulnerable people, COVID-19 can lead to a more severe illness, and their symptoms may persist for an extended duration.

COVID-19 symptoms and what to do

NHS.UK has more information about COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if you have them.

Influenza (flu) and other respiratory viruses

Flu and other respiratory ailments are common infectious viral illnesses which can be highly contagious.

Main symptoms include a raised temperature, tiredness and general exhaustion, headaches and general aches and pains. 

You should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, rest at home and keep warm.

Get Flu advice on NHS.UK

Norovirus (diarrhoea and vomiting)

Norovirus, also known as ‘winter vomiting disease’, is highly contagious. It affects people of all ages and can be spread very easily through water, food, air, and direct and indirect contact. 

Symptoms include vomiting, projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and raised temperatures. 

If you have experienced any of these symptoms in the previous 2 days, please do not visit our hospitals.

There is no specific treatment for norovirus, but you should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

If you are worried or concerned, call NHS 111 in the first instance for advice.

Read Norovirus advice on NHS.UK


Measles is an infection that spreads very easily and can cause serious problems in some people. Having the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent it.

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth.

NHS.UK has more information about Measles.

How you can help

If you are feeling unwell with COVID-19, flu-like symptoms or diarrhoea or vomiting:

  • Please do not visit the hospital until you have been free of symptoms.
  • If you have an urgent appointment or it is essential to visit a friend/relative, speak to the department manager or ward sister/manager first.
  • Wash and dry your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the bathroom and before touching food. Do not rely on alcohol hand sanitiser alone.
  • Do not visit the hospital if you are living in the same household as someone who has symptoms of norovirus or flu.
  • Catch it, bin it, kill it — if you have flu-like symptoms, use tissues when you sneeze and to blow your nose, then discard tissues into waste bins immediately. Wash your hands thoroughly after.

Thank you for helping us to keep our patients safe.