Health & Safety

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Norovirus Stomach Bug

28 March 2009

Each winter thousands of people across the UK suffer from Norovirus, a bug that causes sudden vomiting and diarrhoea.

Norovirus bug

The virus crops up every winter and does not present a major heath problem for most people. It is potentially dangerous for the very young and very old or those with chronic disease but for most people it presents just a short lived spell of unpleasantness. It is also known as winter vomiting disease.

The virus is easily transmitted from one person to another by touching an infected person (including their body fluids) or through contaminated food or drink or touching contaminated surfaces or objects.

It is able to survive in the environment for many days and outbreaks tend to affect more than 50% of susceptible people. Anyone is susceptible as immunity to the virus is not long-lasting. It can be difficult to control because it is so easily spread but the best way is to disinfect contaminated areas.

Advice issued by the Royal College of General Practicioners states:-

  • Drink Plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration,
  • Keep Cool,
  • Take Paracetamol,
  • Stay at home to avoid spreading the infection to others,
  • Don't go to the GP - keep away,
  • Don't go to Hospital A&E departments - keep away,
  • Wash your hands regularly and practise good hygiene to reduce the risk of the illness spreading and avoid handling food,
  • Those who have been infected should be isolated for 48 hours or in other words stay home for two days after the symptoms have cleared up and gone away,
  • Those worried, particularly in the case of young children or elderly people should ring the GP surgery for advice,
  • There is no treatment other than to let the illness run its course.