Norovirus: Outbreaks of vomiting bug have doubled – symptoms to spot

Norovirus: How to prevent catching the virus

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Norovirus is a stomach bug that causes sufferers to struggle with vomiting and diarrhoea. Although the virus can be “very unpleasant”, it usually doesn’t last for too long, leaving your system in about two days.

Considered to be very contagious, norovirus spreads easily through touching surfaces or objects with the virus on them and then touching your mouth.

However, being in close contact with an infected person or eating food prepared by someone with the bug can also cause the condition to crop up.

Now, outbreaks of norovirus have more than doubled in two weeks, according to official figures.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shared there have been 113 outbreaks – defined as at least two cases – of the very contagious virus.

These outbreaks have been seen in schools and nurseries in the two weeks leading up to 13 March.

This number rose up from 50 cases a fortnight earlier.

The UKHSA has blamed this rise on the increase in mixing following the scrapping of all Covid restrictions on 24 February.

Anyone who has been struck down with the vomiting bug is advised to stay home until 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared.

According to the NHS, the most reliable way to stop the virus from spreading is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

The health service also warns that alcohol hand gels won’t kill norovirus.

What are the symptoms of norovirus?

The “main” symptoms include:

  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Being sick (vomiting).

However, you might also experience: a high temperature, a headache, aching arms and legs.

Symptoms like these might come on suddenly within one to two days after being infected.

How to treat norovirus?

The NHS states you should be able to get sufficient treatment from staying at home.

The key part of getting better is resting and having lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.

They explain that you should start to feel better in two to three days.

The UKHSA’s lead for stomach infections Lesley Larkin said: “Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms and do not return to work or send children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.

“Please avoid visiting elderly relatives, if you are unwell — particularly if they are in a care home or hospital.

“Hand washing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but unlike for Covid alcohol hand sanitisers do not kill off norovirus, so soap and warm water is best.”

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