THE NHS in Worcestershire is asking anyone planning to visit its hospitals to stay at home if they or their family members have had diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu-like’ symptoms in the last four days.

The request is designed to help keep ‘winter vomiting’ or Norovirus away from vulnerable patients and staff who could pass it on.

Symptoms of Norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting and, just like flu, the virus can seriously affect vulnerable patients.

Diseases such as Noroviruses can be exacerbated by colder weather, and can be particularly serious for people who are already ill or who have a long term condition.

NHS Worcestershire’s, Medical Director, Jonathan Leach, said: “We usually see higher levels of Norovirus in autumn and winter, and it’s really important to make sure that we protect vulnerable patients and hospital staff.

“This is why we’re asking everyone considering visiting a friend or relative in hospital to think carefully about whether they need to come if they have experienced diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the last four days."

He added: “If you are worried about prolonged symptoms, you can contact NHS Direct on, or 0845 4647, or ring your GP.

"They will be able to provide advice for people who are at greater risk from dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as children under the age of five or the elderly.”