Norovirus brought misery to many over the Christmas and New Year period as some were struck down by the ‘vile’ bug.

It causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and typically lasts for two days.

Some people left bedridden over the festive period said “Christmas was cancelled”, with others having to ask neighbours to help them get food and medicine supplies when whole families became too ill to leave home.

Jade wrote on Twitter: “I’ve just had to ask a neighbour if she could go and get some supplies for us because we are too ill to get to any shop ourselves & have no one else to turn to for help.”

Elly Brown wrote: “Cannot believe I’ve caught norovirus. Christmas is cancelled.”

Others said they felt like they were “dying of norovirus”, while some said they had gone days without food.

Have you been affected by norovirus this winter? If so email Mirror online at [email protected]



The bug causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea

Public Health England figures showed between week 27 and week 50 of last year, there were 1,902 reports of norovirus in England and Wales, seven per cent lower than the average number over the last five years of 2,035.

Throughout the whole year there had been 73 confirmed outbreaks in hospitals, which is again lower than the previous five years’ average of 177.

In the Royal Bolton Hospital, eight wards were closed over New Year after an outbreak of the bug – with staff urging patients’ families to stay away.

Visiting restrictions were put in place and anyone with symptoms of norovirus were told to avoid the hospital for at least 48 hours after they had subsided.

The bug is often called the “winter vomiting bug”, but you can catch norovirus all year round.



The bug causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea

The NHS advises not going to your GP, as norovirus can spread to others very easily. Call your GP or NHS 111 if you’re concerned or need any advice.

The latest NHS norovirus report says: “Reports of suspected and confirmed outbreaks of norovirus in hospitals in England to week 50, 2018 (73 outbreaks) are currently at lower levels than the average number for the same period in the previous five seasons from season 2013/14 to season 2017/18.”

Symptoms of norovirus

You’re likely to have norovirus if you experience: suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting, watery diarrhoea.

Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.

The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to 2 or 3 days.



The bug can spread very quickly

What to do if you have norovirus

If you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you’re feeling better . There’s no cure for norovirus, so you have to let it run its course.

You don’t usually need to get medical advice unless there’s a risk of a more serious problem.

To help ease your own or your child’s symptoms:

Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration . You need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea – as well as water, adults could also try fruit juice and soup. Avoid giving fizzy drinks or fruit juice to children as it can make their diarrhoea worse. Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.

Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains.

Get plenty of rest.



Sufferers are advised to get plenty of rest

If you feel like eating, eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread .

Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if you have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or dark urine.

Adults can take antidiarrhoeal and anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medication – these aren’t suitable for everyone though, so you should check the medicine leaflet or ask or your pharmacist or GP for advice before trying them.

Babies and young children, especially if they’re less than a year old, have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated.

Norovirus can spread very easily, so you should wash your hands regularly while you’re ill and stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared to reduce the risk of passing it on.



NHS advise on what sufferers should do

Sound advice: The games console is clear on the message sent from the NHS England account

When to get medical advice

You don’t normally need to see your GP if you think you or your child has norovirus, as there’s no specific treatment for it. Antibiotics won’t help because it’s caused by a virus.

Visiting your GP surgery with norovirus can put others at risk, so it’s best to call your GP or NHS 111 if you’re concerned or feel you need advice.

While caring for an infant or yourself get medical advice if:

Your baby or child has passed 6 or more watery stools in the past 24 hours, or has vomited 3 times or more in the past 24 hours

Your baby or child is less responsive, feverish, or has pale or mottled skin

You or your child has symptoms of severe dehydration, such as persistent dizziness, only passing small amounts of urine or no urine at all, or reduced consciousness – babies and elderly people have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated

You have bloody diarrhoea

Your symptoms haven’t started to improve after a few days

You or your child have a serious underlying condition, such as kidney disease, and have diarrhoea and vomiting

Your GP may suggest sending off a sample of your stool to a laboratory to confirm whether you have norovirus or another infection.



Norovirus (Pic: Rex)

Norovirus typically last just a few days

How to stop norovirus spreading

Norovirus spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

You can catch it if small particles of vomit or poo from an infected person get into your mouth, such as through:

close contact with someone with norovirus – they may breathe out small particles containing the virus that you could inhale

touching contaminated surfaces or objects – the virus can survive outside the body for several days,

eating contaminated food – this can happen if an infected person doesn’t wash their hands before handling food

A person with norovirus is most infectious from when their symptoms start until 48 hours after all their symptoms have passed, although they may also be infectious for a short time before and after this. You can get norovirus more than once because the virus is always changing, so your body is unable to build up long-term resistance to it.

Stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have passed. You should also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.

Read More

Top news stories from Mirror Online