Whether you’ve had it yourself, known someone who has, or have heard about it, you’ll know that norovirus is no joke. Also known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’, it’s something that affects people in their thousands over the winter months, causing all sorts of misery. While it’s something that usually lasts 1-2 days, it’s easily spread, which is why it’s important to be extra cautious with your hygiene over the winter months. While you can’t completely avoid the norovirus this winter, you can help to stop the spread.
Norovirus in the UK
This winter has already seen several norovirus outbreaks, which has led to closures of schools and hospital wards. Temperatures have plummeted this week with snow sweeping across most of the country, making people even more vulnerable to winter viruses and illnesses such as flu and norovirus. It’s a virus that spreads quickly across workplaces, homes and schools and could be dangerous to those with existing conditions or those who are vulnerable.
Symptoms of norovirus
Symptoms of norovirus can appear quickly, and mainly consist of feeling nauseous, diarrhoea and vomiting. Sufferers might also experience a high temperature, headache, aches as well as symptoms of dehydration. In most cases, the symptoms of norovirus go away after a day or two.
Norovirus can be treated at home, and it’s advisable that you stay home to prevent spreading it to anyone else. Treating norovirus involves many of the same steps as treating vomiting and diarrhoea, and involves waiting for the symptoms to pass. Avoiding dehydration is crucial when dealing with norovirus, so you need to make sure you drink plenty of fluids (but not fizzy drinks or fruit juices). Reintroduce food when you’re ready and when you feel like you can keep it down.
Preventing norovirus this winter
While you might not be able to avoid norovirus completely, there are things you can do to stop it from spreading and reduce your chances of contracting it. Good hygiene is important for your health and can prevent you from picking up viruses, especially during the winter months. Some things you can do to reduce the risk of norovirus this winter include:
- Washing your hands frequently, particularly after using the toilet and around food preparation.
- Keep some hand sanitiser on you, or at your desk so that you can keep your hands clean while you’re out and about.
- Keep your surfaces clean using disinfectant products designed to kill bacteria. You should also pay close attention to your bathroom, especially if someone has been displaying norovirus symptoms.
- Don’t share towels, face flannels, etc. with people who might have the virus
- If you develop norovirus, stay at home and avoid contact with others. You should wait until 2 days after your symptoms have ceased to ensure you’re no longer contagious.
While it can be miserable, the symptoms of norovirus will pass after a couple of days. Make sure you stay as hydrated as possible by drinking water to avoid developing complications from dehydration.
If you develop norovirus, it’s important that you stay away from your local GP clinic, as this could spread the virus to people who are already suffering with illnesses and may be at serious risk if they develop norovirus this winter. If your symptoms don’t ease or you need medical help, call 111 in the first instance to be given the appropriate advice.