People using West Suffolk Hospital will be given useful advice and practical tips to help them and their families stay well this winter during a week-long awareness event designed to help protect them from illnesses such as the flu.
This week visitors have been able to pick up information about steps they can take to safeguard their own health, which includes keeping warm, having the flu jab and eating well, as well as washing hands.
Advice about the best ways to treat common illnesses such as coughs and colds are also available, while people are reminded of the wide range of services available at their local pharmacy.
On tomorrow and Friday, staff from the infection prevention and housekeeping teams will also be stressing the importance of good hand hygiene, which reduces people’s risk of contracting illnesses such as norovirus or flu.
They will give visitors the chance to test out the hospital’s high tech portable sinks, which are fully automated and feature a video screen which counts down to make sure they wash their hands for the full 15 seconds required to kill a virus.
The sinks are usually positioned outside wards or near the hospital’s front entrance during norovirus outbreaks to limit the spread of the infection.
Rowan Procter, interim chief nurse at the hospital, said: “We hope that this week-long campaign will give patients and visitors to the hospital lots of useful tips and practical advice to help them stay well this winter.
“By following some simple advice at home, such as making sure they keep warm, eat a good diet and wash their hands after using the loo and before preparing food, they can help protect both themselves and their families from a range of illnesses. We would also urge anyone who is eligible to have a flu jab at their GP surgery.
“As well as helping individuals to stay well, following these steps will also have a knock on effect at the hospital as it will reduce the risk of visitors passing on illnesses such as norovirus and the flu onto our patients.
“The public can play a really important role in making sure this doesn’t happen simply by following good hygiene practices and regularly washing their hands.”
Research has shown up to half of all men and a quarter of women fail to wash their hands after they’ve been to the toilet. Anyone who has had diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from the hospital for at least 48 hours after they have recovered to reduce the risk of passing on the highly contagious illness.