NHS issues warnings to protect against outbreaks of norovirus

Health bosses are warning people to take precautions to protect themselves against the nororvirus, or the winter vomiting bug as its also known.

It comes as the number of people contracting the ‘winter vomiting bug’ has gone up over the last few weeks.

Norovirus is highly contagious affecting people of all ages and can be transmitted through water, food, air or person to person contact.

The advice is if you are suffering from diarrhoea and/or vomiting, stay at home, drink plenty of fluids and wait until you have had no symptoms for at least two days before going out.

Dr May Cahill, a medical director, for NHS North East London and the City said: “We must all practice excellent hand and food hygiene all the time; but even more so during the winter when norovirus, as well as simple colds and flu are far more common. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

“If you suspect you may have norovirus, stay at home. It’s best to let the illness run its course and your body usually fights off the infection within a couple of days.

“It is really important to drink plenty of water and, if you feel the need, use paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains. If you are usually generally fit and well, then you should not need to see your GP”.

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People suffering from norovirus are advised to:

� Try to eat foods that are easy to digest, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread. Babies should continue with their normal feeds

� Drink plenty of fluids. This is particularly important for young children and the elderly, as they are more prone to dehydration. They will need urgent medical treatment if they start to show signs of dehydration

� Patients finding it hard to keep down fluids, should try to take small sips more frequently to keep hydrated

� To reduce the risk of passing the virus on to others wash your hands regularly and stay at home until you are clear of symptoms for 48 hours. Try to minimise contact with other people.

� Call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or go to www.nhs.uk for further information on the symptoms and treatment of norovirus.