Patients, carers and members of the public are being reminded to be vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves and others from seasonal sickness bugs.
Norovirus (winter sickness bug) is a very common viral infection which causes forceful vomiting and diarrhoea. It spreads easily, particularly in areas where there are lots of people.
The best defense against the virus is good hand hygiene, washing hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food. Ensuring any surfaces which may have been contaminated are disinfected will also help.
Dr James Ogle, GP in West Leicestershire, said:
“Sickness bugs are unpleasant for everyone and can lead to dehydration, which can be very serious for those who are young, frail or already unwell.
“If you have symptoms of norovirus, avoid direct contact with other people and preparing food for others until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have disappeared. You may still be contagious, even though you no longer have sickness or diarrhoea.
"Avoid visiting hospitals and care homes if you have had the typical symptoms of norovirus in the past 48 hours. Some may request you avoid visiting completely if you've had symptoms within the past 72 hours. Norovirus is more serious and even more easily spread among people who are already ill or elderly.
"If you think you need medical attention, please call your GP before visiting, or if they are closed phone NHS 111, who will be able to get you the care you need.”
The first sign of norovirus is usually suddenly feeling sick followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Some people may also have:
• a raised temperature (over 38°C/100.4°F)
• painful stomach cramps
• aching limbs
For more information on how you can stay healthy and help to prevent the spread of nasty bugs this winter visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk
People are advised to follow the tips below to help prevent the spread of nasty winter tummy bugs such as Norovirus:
• Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food.
• Don't share towels and flannels.
• If you or someone in your household has the virus, disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with the virus. It's best to use a bleach-based household cleaner.
• Wash any clothing or bedding that could have become contaminated with the virus. Wash the items separately and on a hot wash to ensure that the virus is killed.
• Flush away any infected diarrhoea or vomit in the toilet and clean the surrounding toilet area.