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Hospital restricts visiting hours

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Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital sees increase in flu and Norovirus

VISITING hours at the Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital have been restricted, due to an increase in influenza and Norovirus.

"We have had a small number of flu patients admitted over the last week-and-a-half, averaging about six a day," said Gina Hanafin, spokeswoman for the Basingstoke-based hospital.

She added: "We have had only two or three patients admitted with confirmed with Norovirus, however, with the increase locally in both the flu virus and Norovirus, the hospital is currently restricting visiting times to just two hours a day."

For the last four years, the hospital has been battling the highly infectious Norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, which causes sickness and diarrhoea.

The virus usually lasts 48 hours and can cause severe infections in elderly, or debilitated patients, or those with a compromised immune system.

An outbreak in March last year was the third at the hospital within a five month period, with outbreaks also recorded in 2008 and 2009.

Health experts have warned that influenza is also highly contagious and can last for up to a week. Those infected should try to avoid all unnecessary contact with others during this period, including visiting relatives in hospital, or the emergency department. Symptoms usually peak after two to three days.

People are advised to wash hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after going to the bathroom and before preparing food.

Visiting hours at the hospital are currently restricted to between 2pm and 3pm, and 6pm and 7pm.

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