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Norovirus, keep it to yourself!

With the peak norovirus season approaching, NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking people with diarrhoea and vomiting to keep it to themselves, and avoid GP surgeries and hospitals.

Although it can be caught at any time of the year, norovirus is often referred to as the winter vomiting bug as it is more common throughout winter. It is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and affects people of all ages.

The bug is highly contagious and can be spread by coming into contact with an infected person, a contaminated surface or by consuming contaminated food and water. Closed spaces, such as hospitals, schools and care homes enable the bug to spread rapidly and an outbreak can close down hospital wards, which has a knock on effect throughout the local NHS and social care system.

Paula South, Director of Quality & Governance/Lead Nurse, NHS East Riding of Yorkshire CCG has said: “There is no treatment for norovirus, but it is important for people who do have the bug to keep hydrated. Most people will recover within a few days, without any long-term effects.

“People who are infected are usually contagious from the moment they begin to feel ill until at least three days after they recover. We would strongly urge anyone who thinks they may be infected to stay at home, so not to risk spreading the virus further. Rather than visiting their GP, we would encourage people to call NHS 111 for advice if necessary.”

Typical symptoms of norovirus include the sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea. Some people may also experience headaches, mild temperatures and stomach cramps.

There are simple steps people can take to reduce the risk of spreading Norovirus:-

  • Thorough hand washing – wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry
  • Don’t prepare food while infected
  • Immediately clean and disinfect surfaces after episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Wash clothes and bed linens that may be contaminated thoroughly
  • Drink plenty of fluids – stay away from caffeine and pay particular attention to the young and elderly for signs of dehydration

More information can be found about norovirus on www.nhs.uk/norovirus.

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