A hospital is urging local people, staff and patients to be aware of the hygiene risks that could lead to an outbreak of the Norovirus at its site in Scotland.
NHS Lanarkshire is concerned about the wellbeing of those at Wishaw General and other hospitals in the area, so has pleaded with visitors to consider the importance of washing their hands, reports the Wishaw Press.
The Norovirus is a threat to hospitals at all times of the year, but it is particularly likely to occur during the cold and wet winter months. With freezing temperatures covering much of the UK at the moment, it is the ideal time for the bug to manifest itself.
Bosses of the health board are worried because the Norovirus is known to spread quickly through patients, members of staff and those visiting a hospital. As such, people must do all they can to reduce the likelihood of it becoming a reality.
Jan Clarkson, nurse consultant in healthcare associated infection, said: "Actions by patients, visitors and staff can help minimise the impact of Norovirus. It is important that people do not visit hospital if they have symptoms of suspected Norovirus and they should wait until they have been clear of symptoms for at least 48 hours as they may still be contagious.
"Patients and visitors can also help by maintaining good hygiene, especially regular hand washing."
An example of how the Norovirus can take hold in a particular area was given earlier this year when 57 people in Strathclyde became ill after taking part in an open swimming event at Strathclyde Lock.
Last April, a ward at Wishaw General was closed following a suspected outbreak of the bug, while three sections of Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow were also shut to new patients when experts believed the Norovirus may have been present.
The effective use of cleaning products, educating staff and clamping down on poor hygiene among visitors are some of the best ways to tackle the bug.