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Norovirus: All you need to know to prepare

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As winter approaches, Public Health England is issuing advice on how to avoid getting norovirus and what to do if you become unwell.

Norovirus is an unpleasant vomiting bug that usually lasts about two days. There’s not much that can be done to treat it but there are ways to reduce the risk of passing it on to those around you.

It is highly contagious and so it’s important to practise good hygiene by thoroughly washing hands with soap and warm water, staying away from places like hospitals and care homes and avoiding preparing food or having close contact with others when ill to limit the spread of norovirus – which causes unpleasant, but short lived, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Nick Phin, National Infection Service Deputy Director, PHE said:

“Norovirus can be unpleasant and is easily passed on to those around you. Most people get over it within a day or two but in the very young, elderly or those who have weakened immune systems it can last longer and it is easy to get dehydrated, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent this.

“It is transmitted by touching hands or surfaces that the virus has landed on. All surfaces should be thoroughly disinfected after any episode of illness.

“Those who have diarrhoea and vomiting should not prepare food until 48 hours after symptoms have disappeared. We advise that they should avoid visiting GP surgeries, care homes and hospitals if they have symptoms. If anyone has symptoms and is concerned they should contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone.”

One of the best ways to protect against norovirus and to help prevent infection is by practising good hygiene. This includes thorough hand washing with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food. Symptoms of norovirus include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Illness typically lasts about 24 to 48 hours.

Further information:

1.     Current norovirus circulation is well within expected levels and you can see the latest statistics on the gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/norovirus-national-update

2.     Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.

3.     Website: http://www.gov.uk/PHE Twitter: @PHE_uk @PHE_YorksHumber, Facebook: www.facebook.com/PublicHealthEngland

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