HOSPITAL visitors are being asked to help combat the spread of the winter vomiting bug Norovirus.
A number of wards at Torbay Hospital are currently affected by the virus, with both patients and staff falling ill.
Dr Selina Hoque, director of infection prevention and control at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We know people place great value on being able to visit loved ones in hospital but when we are experiencing infection outbreaks in the community and in hospitals, they can unknowingly put patients' health at real risk.
"If you are feeling unwell, or actually have diarrhoea or vomiting, please don't come into the hospital either as a patient or visitor for at least 48 hours after the last symptom has disappeared. If you become unwell while you are visiting then please tell someone in charge, even if you were ill in a toilet. Also, if you are due to attend an outpatient appointment or have, and have been ill, then please ring the hospital and let them know."
Specialist infection control and cleaning teams from South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital, are dealing with the outbreak.
Norovirus causes sickness and diarrhoea and is a common virus which circulates in the community and is usually more prevalent in the winter.
Most people will recover from the bug within a few days, but will remain contagious for some time after the symptoms have disappeared.
For hospital patients, who can often be more vulnerable due to existing illness or injury, the bug can have a more serious impact on their health.
There is no treatment for the Norovirus infection and the vast majority of people will get better by themselves.
For guidance on visiting, contact Torbay Hospital via the switchboard on 01803 614567.