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Public urged to play their part to stop the spread of winter vomiting bug

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Norovirus

People in Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged by the local NHS to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious winter vomiting bug commonly known as ” Norovirus”.

Hospital ward closures and outbreaks in schools are among common problems caused by the diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms of Norovirus– which affects between 600,000 to one million people of all ages in the UK every year.

Norovirus is a viral infection causing gastroenteritis (stomach bug) which can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea and flu-like symptoms.  Norovirus illnesses can occur at any time of the year but are more common in the winter months. Usually, with people making a full recovery within a couple of days.

In Coventry and Warwickshire some people have been turning up at Accident and Emergency departments with Norovirus symptoms and visiting patients in hospital when they have been unwell.  Anyone displaying these symptoms should stay at home for 72 hours after last symptom.  Symptoms can be eased by drinking plenty of water and fluids, taking paracetamol for any fever, aches and pains and eating foods which are easy to digest if you have an appetite.

As Norovirus is highly infectious, it is vital to make sure it does not spread to other vulnerable people – such as those with long-term health problems – as complications can develop.  Symptoms can last up to 72 hours but if symptoms persist call NHS 111 for advice.

Other ways to contain the virus include.

  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water. (Alcohol hand gels are not effective against Norovirus);
  • Cleaning all surfaces within the toilet/ bathroom in the home with a detergent followed by diluted disinfectant e.g. household bleach.  Pay particular attention to toilet flushes, taps and door handles;
  • Good personal hygiene and not sharing towels and flannels;
  • Staying at home until symptoms disappear.

 

Dr Deryth Stevens, GP and Chair of NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Norovirus is highly infectious, so the public need to ensure that they do not spread it to more vulnerable people – for example those with long-term health problems – as this could lead to complications. We are urging everyone to stay away from hospitals, work, school or social gatherings until they have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

“There is plenty the public can do to stop Norovirus from spreading.  The most basic thing is for people to make sure they are washing their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water.

“Ensure that toilet areas in your home are kept clean, particularly if you have been experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.  Wash any clothing or linen that could be contaminated with Norovirus and disinfect any hard surfaces that could be contaminated.”

Press release provided by Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit

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