LEIGHTON Hospital has closed two wards to admissions and visitors after a norovirus outbreak.

The Crewe hospital reported a small number of patients as being affected today, Thursday.

Hospital bosses at the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are urging residents showing any symptoms of the 'winter vomiting bug' to steer clear of hospitals or care homes.

Norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK, known as the winter vomiting bug but present throughout the year.

The main symptoms are nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Some people may also have a high temperature (38C or above), a headache and aching arms and legs.

Winsford Guardian:

To help prevent the spread of tummy bugs such as norovirus, we’re being advised to maintain good hygiene - including washing hands properly.

Experts say it should take around 20 seconds – the time it takes to sing ‘happy birthday’ twice.

Avoid preparing food if you're infected, and wash used items of clothing separately on the hottest temperature for the fabric to kill germs.

Anita Swaine, head of nursing for infection prevention and control at Mid Cheshire Hospitals, said: “For most people, norovirus is an unpleasant illness that takes a day or two to recover from.

"It’s important to drink plenty of fluids during that time to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immunity.

“We’re asking the public to help control the spread of infection by thinking carefully before visiting their friends and relatives in settings such as care homes and hospitals.

“We recommend that people do not visit if they have felt or are feeling unwell with diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting or have had flu or a fever over the past 48 hours.

"If your friend or relative is in hospital and has any norovirus symptoms or is on a ward that is closed, we ask that you do not visit unless absolutely necessary and that you do not bring any children under the age of 12.

“All of our visitors can also support by remembering to wash their hands when coming onto or leaving a ward area, and to use the hand gels provided at the entrance and exit to all patient areas.”

Self-treating at home is the best way to manage norovirus. You don’t normally need to see your GP if you have the bug because there’s no specific treatment for it – antibiotics won’t help because it’s caused by a virus.

If you are concerned, call NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk