According to figures from Health Protection Agency (HPA) over a million people in the UK have been infected by the winter vomiting bug also known as the dreaded norovirus. The figures reveal that a infections in 2012 were 83 per cent higher than in 2011.
Norovirus expert John Harris from the HPA said: “The number of laboratory confirmed cases has risen once again as it appears that we have seen the rise in cases that usually begins in January start a little earlier than we normally expect. Norovirus is very contagious, and very unpleasant. To help prevent spread of the disease, it’s important that people who believe they are unwell with the virus maintain good hand hygiene and stay away from hospitals, schools and care homes, as these closed environments are particularly prone to outbreaks which can cause severe disruption.”
The Norovirus can be transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces, objects, by direct contact with a person infected person or by the consumption of food or water which maybe contaminated. The virus is should not be confused with the Flu virus, Noroviruses are a group of viruses that are the most common cause of stomach bugs (gastroenteritis) in the UK. Symptoms of norovirus include a sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhea and can be deadly amongst at risk groups including the very young, old or people with serious existing illnesses.
The NHS gives clear guidance regarding the norovirus. The infected should:
- Drink plenty of water and fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Take paracetamol for any fever,aches and pains.
- If you are hungry, eat foods that are easy to digest like soups.
Those infected are urged NOT to visit their local GP as the virus is very contagious Whilst you have the virus nothing can be done however you are advised to contact your GP or local surgery if your symptoms last longer than a three days or if you already have a serious illness.