Norovirus Stay at Home

Norovirus stay at home




Norovirus: the Winter Vomiting Bug.

Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common stomach bug in the UK.You can catch it at any time during the year, although it is more common in the winter months.

The virus is highly contagious. It can affect people of all ages and causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Other symptoms include:

  • Mild fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Headaches
  • Aching limbs

Although having norovirus can be unpleasant, it's not usually dangerous and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see their GP. There’s no cure for it – you just have to let it run its course and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.

How to avoid catching norovirus

Norovirus is easily spread and there is no 100% effective way to avoid it, but there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of catching it:

Keep your hands clean.

Wash them frequently with soap and water, particularly after going to the toilet, and before eating or preparing food.

Avoid raw, unwashed food.

Rinse fruit and vegetables well before eating them.

Don’t share towels, flannels or toothbrushes.

If someone in your home has norovirus, you could catch it from something they’ve used.

Keep household surfaces clean. Anywhere you prepare food, surfaces that an infected person has touched, and your bathroom should be kept as clean as possible using bleach-based cleaners.

If you have norovirus, you may continue to be infectious for a short period after your symptoms stop. You should therefore avoid preparing food and direct contact with others for at least 48 hours after your symptoms disappear.

What to do if you catch norovirus

If you have norovirus, follow the steps below to help ease your symptoms:

Keep it to yourself.

Staying at home and keeping your hands clean can help avoid spreading norovirus to others. You can still be infectious up to 48 hours after your symptoms go, so it’s best to avoid seeing other people during that time. It’s especially important to avoid visiting anyone in a hospital or care home, as norovirus is more serious for people who are already ill.

Don’t go to see your GP

Norovirus is contagious and there is nothing your GP can do while you have it. Take Paracetamol for any aches or pains and contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness.

Drink plenty of liquid.

Water is best. This will replace the water your body loses from vomiting and diarrhoea and will avoid dehydration.

Eat food that’s easy to digest.

That means things like soup, rice, pasta and bread. Babies should continue with their normal feeds.

If you are looking after someone with norovirus…

The main things to remember are:

  • Make sure they don’t become dehydrated. Give them plenty to drink. Extra care should be taken to prevent babies and small children who have diarrhoea and vomiting from dehydrating by giving them plenty of fluids.
  • If they’re elderly or vulnerable, give them rehydration solutions (you can get these from your chemist).
  • If they have symptoms for more than three days, or you’re worried about dehydration, get advice from NHS 24 on 111.
  • Hospitals and care homes may temporarily suspend visiting if norovirus is about. This is to stop the virus spreading – especially to ill or elderly people, as norovirus can be more serious for them.
  • If you are due to attend hospital yourself for any reason, please remember to tell your doctor or nurse if someone in your family has norovirus.

For more information…

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