NHS issue norovirus warning as cases soar

Brits who have been struck down by a nasty bug causing vomiting and diarrhoea, are being advised to stay away from work or school, due to an increase in cases.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported that norovirus cases are higher than expected for this time of year, attributing the spread of the illness to the dismal weather. Government testing labs have recorded norovirus cases at 75% above the five-year average for the same four-week period, reports the Mirror.

The UKHSA is currently investigating the cause, suggesting “multiple factors” may be contributing to the unexpected numbers, including changes in testing since the Covid pandemic and the chilly spring weather.

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Norovirus can lead to dehydration in addition to vomiting and diarrhoea, so it’s crucial to keep hydrated if you’re affected. Those in vulnerable groups, such as young children and older or immunocompromised individuals, are particularly at risk.

If you have norovirus, the NHS asks that you stay off school or work until two days after you have stopped being sick or had diarrhoea, as this is when you’re most infectious. It’s also important not to visit hospitals or care homes during this time. Washing your hands with soap and cleaning surfaces will bleach-based products will help stop the bug from spreading – but don’t just rely on hand sanitiser, as this does not kill norovirus.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA said: “Norovirus levels were higher in April than we would usually see at this time of year and have been increasing. This is likely due to a combination of factors, but the colder weather we have had won’t have helped. Norovirus can cause dehydration, especially in vulnerable groups such as young children and older or immunocompromised people, so if you do get ill it is important to drink plenty of fluids.”

“If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these settings.”

“Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.”

The stomach bug causes vomiting and diarrhoea and usually goes away after around two days. According to the NHS, the symptoms to look out for are:

Anyone who suspects they may have the virus is urged to stay off school or work and not visit hospitals or care homes. The key to fighting it is plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids. The best way to stop its spread is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

People can catch it from close contact, touching surfaces which have the virus and then touching your mouth, or by eating food which has been prepared by someone already suffering from it.

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Originally Appeared Here

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About the Author: Rayne Chancer