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Stay at home and Self-care if you get the winter vomiting bug

01 March 2017


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Health bosses in Bedfordshire are urging those with norovirus – or the winter vomiting bug - to stay at home. Norovirus sounds much scarier than it is, and while the symptoms are unpleasant, they usually clear up after a couple of days.

So, how do you know if you have Norovirus?  What are the symptoms?

·         you are likely to have the virus if you suddenly start to feel sick

·         experience projectile vomiting

·         have watery diarrhoea

·         you experience a slightly high fever, headache, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.

These symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to two or three days.

The good news is that hospitals in England are winning the fight against the virus.  2016 saw a 13% drop in cases compared to the previous year.[1]  However, with cases of norovirus in the general population expected to increase over the coming months, we can all play a part in ensuring that the bug does not spread by self-treating at home.

Dr Alvin Low, GP in Bedfordshire says: ‘’we know that norovirus spreads easily, so it’s important for those affected to stay at home to avoid spreading the disease to others.  Generally, there is no need for a trip to the GP, but if you are unsure and want to seek reassurance about your symptoms or those of your child, talk to your pharmacist.  They can advise on over the counter remedies to ease symptoms.”

Otherwise, you can help to ease symptoms by doing the following things, until the bug is cleared out of your system:

·         Drink plenty of liquids.  You need to drink more than usual to replace fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhoea.   You might even want to take special rehydration drinks available from your pharmacist.

·         Take paracetamol for fevers, aches and pains.

·         Eat plain foods such as pasta, rice, soup and bread.

·         Get plenty of rest.

 Children and babies have an increased risk of becoming dehydrated, so be sure to speak to your pharmacist to gain specific advice and remedies to help prevent them from deteriorating further. 

Notes to editors

1] 653 cases of Norovirus were confirmed in English hospitals during 2015, with 563 cases in 2016. Details can be found online:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reported-norovirus-outbreaks-in-hospitals-suspected-and-laboratory-confirmed-outbreaks-in-2015/suspected-and-laboratory-confirmed-reported-norovirus-outbreaks-in-hospitals-outbreaks-occurring-in-weeks-49-to-53-2015 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reported-norovirus-outbreaks-in-hospitals-suspected-and-laboratory-confirmed-outbreaks-in-2016/suspected-and-laboratory-confirmed-reported-norovirus-outbreaks-in-hospitals-outbreaks-occurring-in-weeks-48-to-52-2016 

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