Norovirus brings unpleasant symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea and is incredibly contagious but experts warn hand sanitiser is not enough to stop its spread
More warnings have been issued over the winter vomiting bug norovirus as we move deeper into Spring with cases now on the rise.
The virus is spreading, along with Covid, as people begin to mix more following the complete lifting of pandemic restrictions.
The UK Health Security Agency monitors outbreaks of the nasty sickness bug, which bring highly unpleasant symptoms.
Norovirus is highly contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhoea, but normally does not last much more than a couple of days. An expert has warned hand sanitiser is not enough to stop its spread.
Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety, UK Health Security Agency said: “As pandemic restrictions were lifted and now people have begun to mix more, norovirus outbreaks have started to increase.
“Symptoms include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs.
“Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms and do not return to work or send children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.
“If you catch this bug, it is important to drink water to avoid dehydration and do not visit elderly relatives, especially in care homes or hospitals while unwell.
“Hand washing is key to help stop the spread of this bug, but unlike for Covid-19 alcohol hand sanitisers do not kill off norovirus, so soap and warm water is best.”
Often norovirus outbreaks affect care homes and schools the most, with inhabitants of both spreading the virus to their families, once within the home it can spread into the wider community.
The six main symptoms
- watery diarrhea
- feeling sick
- Aching arms and legs
- at high temperature
How to reduce the spread of norovirus:
Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms, the UK Health Security Agency say.
Do not return to work or send children to school until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. Also avoid visiting elderly or poorly relatives, particularly if they are in hospital or a care home.
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. Alcohol hand gels don’t kill norovirus.
When an infected person vomits, the droplets contaminate the surrounding surfaces. A bleach-based household cleaner or a combination of bleach and hot water should be used to disinfect potentially contaminated household surfaces and commonly used objects such as toilets, taps, telephones, door handles and kitchen surfaces.
If you are ill, avoid cooking and helping prepare meals for others until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped, as norovirus can be spread through food contaminated by the virus when food is handled by symptomatic people/infected individuals.
Wash any contaminated clothing or bedding using detergent and at 60°C, and if possible, wear disposable gloves to handle contaminated items.
What to do if you have norovirus
Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF)
You are required to isolate yourself at home until 48 hours have passed since the last time you were sick, doctors say.
The NHS warned: “Stay off school or work until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least 2 days.
“This is when you’re most infectious. Do not visit hospitals or care homes during this time.”
The virus can survive outside the body for several days on contaminated food and so it is important for people to wash their hands regularly, especially before eating.
People are most infectious from when symptoms start until 48 hours after all symptoms have passed. You may also be infectious for a short time before and after this.