Six norovirus symptoms to look out for ahead of winter vomiting bug outbreak


Norovirus – dubbed the winter vomiting bug – brings highly unpleasant symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea and is incredibly contagious but it only usually lasts a few days

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Everything you need to know: Norovirus

More warnings have been issued over the winter vomiting bug norovirus as doctors outline the six main symptoms you need to look out for.

Experts have suggested that an outbreak could begin in schools and care homes in the weeks ahead as the cold weather continues.

Cases have started to creep up in some areas and medics say even though Spring is on the horizon, we need to know the signs.

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhoea, but normally does not last much more than a couple of days.

The virus spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools where tiny particles of vomit or excrement enters a persons nose or mouth.

We could be seeing more people struck down with norovirus in the coming weeks
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Getty Images/iStockphoto)

But while many are fearful of catching coronavirus, if you’ve experienced a sudden onslaught of new symptoms it may not be Covid that you’ve caught.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety for the UKHSA said: “Although at lower levels than before the pandemic, norovirus outbreaks continue to be reported in care home settings, so we encourage all those visiting loved ones to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of norovirus infection.

“This includes hand washing with soap and warm water regularly and thoroughly, especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food.”

The majority of outbreaks have been in educational settings, experts say
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Image:

Getty Images/iStockphoto)

You can also catch it if you are in close proximity to an infected person, the expert says.

“Those experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting should not return to work or send unwell children to school until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared and ideally should also not prepare food during this time either,” the medic added.

“We advise people with symptoms to avoid visiting GP surgeries and hospitals, however if they are concerned they should talk to their GP by phone or contact NHS 111 or visit the NHS choices norovirus webpage.”

The six main symptoms

  • vomiting
  • watery diarrhea
  • feeling sick
  • Aching arms and legs
  • at high temperature
  • headache

What to do if you have norovirus

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.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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