Diarrhoea & Vomiting

Information for patients and their visitors

On occasion, some of our patients may experience symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting (D&V) whilst they are in hospital. This may be caused by the patients underlying medical condition, or it may be due to an infection (tummy bug) such as Norovirus. Tummy bugs normally last for 48 – 72 hours and unfortunately can spread very quickly – especially in areas where people are together, such as a hospital ward.

As a precaution, we may put in place a number of actions, outlined below.

Isolation and/or cohorting of patients

  • Where possible, we will isolate symptomatic individuals in side rooms;
  • Where this is not possible, we will cohort (nurse together) patients in bays with the doors closed. The doors will have signage to indicate that this is the case;
  • These isolated bays will then remain closed to new admissions until the last symptomatic patient is symptom free for 48 hours.

Hand hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment (gloves and aprons)

  • Soap and water must be used for cleaning hands in this instance as the foam hand sanitiser is not very effective against tummy bugs;
  • Staff will wear gloves and yellow aprons when caring for patients in isolation rooms/bays.

Environmental cleaning

  • Nursing staff will clean and disinfect spillages of D&V promptly;
  • Cleaning staff will use a product that contains Chlorine to disinfect hard surfaces;
  • Curtains will be changed at the end of the outbreak (unless a change is required earlier).

What you can do to help prevent the spread


  • If you are in an isolated bay or side room, it is important to stay in the area, unless otherwise instructed to do so by a member of staff;
  • Hands must be washed with soap and water after visiting the toilet and before eating. If you cannot get to a sink, ask a member of staff for some hand wipes;
  • If you experience symptoms of tummy upset whilst you are in hospital which is unusual for you, or any of your visitors have had symptoms, please inform a member of staff in the ward.


  • Please only have contact with the person you have come to visit and try not to converse with other patients or walk around the ward;
  • Please avoid sitting on patient beds;
  • Please refrain from eating and drinking in the ward;
  • If you are asked to wear gloves and an apron whilst visiting an isolated bay please put the gloves and apron on before entering the bay. When you come out of the bay please remove your gloves and apron and then wash your hands with soap and water before you leave the bay;
  • If you are unwell it is best not to visit during the course of the outbreak, as you may be more likely to pick up the infection yourself;
  • We strongly advise that children are not brought into the area at this time;
  • If you have an upset stomach, please do not visit until you are free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.
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