Bacteria and Virus

if you are unwell

If you have suffered from a reportable illness, you should not go to work until you have been given the all-clear to return from your doctor. This includes an illness you may have suffered when on holiday, especially abroad.

If you have a stomach bug or fever, it is important that you stay at home. You must stay away from work for 48 hours after the last period of sickness or diarrhoea. A fever in adults is a temperature of 38° C or above.


Bacteria are organisms made up of just one cell. Bacteria exist everywhere, inside and on our bodies. Most of them are completely harmless and some of them are particularly useful e.g., probiotics.

Bacterial infections are usually treated with an antibiotic prescribed by a doctor.


A viral infection is a disease that can be caused by different kinds of viruses, of which the flu virus is best known.

A viral infection can be in different places in the body, some viruses are mainly in the intestine, while others prefer the lungs and airways.

Depending on the virus and a person’s state of health, various viruses can infect almost any type of body tissue, from the brain to the skin. The treatment of virus infections is usually left up to the individual’s own immune system.

How are infections with viruses and bacteria spread?

Viral and bacterial infections are both spread in basically the same ways. A person with a cold can spread the infection by coughing or sneezing. Bacteria or viruses can be passed on by touching or shaking hands with another person. Touching food with dirty hands will also allow viruses or bacteria from the intestine to spread. Infections can also be spread via body fluids.

A stomach bug introduced to a care setting or a hospital can quickly spread between the individuals, patients, and staff. This results in staff sickness absence and individuals needing an increased level of support which can be upsetting for the individual and costly.

Some individuals you support may have low immune systems which means they are more vulnerable to becoming ill. This may also man they could suffer for much longer and their illness could be more serious, particularly if this adds and complicates other medical conditions or illness they are suffering from.

“It is vital that you help reduce the spread of infection”

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