How to avoid the norovirus this Christmas


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Public Health England (PHE) say they’ve seen a huge increase in the norovirus and have issued key advice.

PHE say think ‘NORO’

N- No visits to hospitals, care homes or GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of norovirus – send someone else to visit loved ones until you’re better.

O- Once you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours, you’re safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals and care home.

R- Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food.

O- Only hand-washing will prevent spread of norovirus – alcohol hand gels DON’T kill the virus

PHE have issued advice to people who might have symptoms of the virus. Credit: ITV news

What are the symptoms of norovirus?

The symptoms of norovirus normally begin around 12-48 hours after the person is infected.

The main symptoms include vomiting and watery diarrhea which lasts for 12-60 hours. Other symptoms may include a raised temperature, headaches, stomach cramps and aching limbs.

Most people are fully recovered after 1 or 2 days, but the very young and elderly must be more careful as dehydration is more common for these age groups.

What to do if you think you have the virus?

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

If you feel like eating, eat foods that are easy to digest.

Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains.

Stay at home and don’t go to the doctor- Norovirus is contagious and there is nothing the doctor can do while you have it.

Contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness

How to stop the virus spreading?Disinfect contaminated areas.

Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with warm water and soap to protect against the spread of the virus.

Stay off work for 48 hours after symptoms have ceased- Especially those working in food preparation and with vulnerable groups.

Public Health England are also warning that flu levels are beginning to rise.

Health professionals say it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine and people should continue to use the “Catch it, bin it, kill it” campaign.

Flu and flu-like viruses can be spread easily between people from coughs and sneezes. They can live on hands and surfaces for up to 24 hours.

If people experience flu like symptoms they should access NHS 111 in the first instance rather than go directly to their GP surgery or hospital.

Symptoms of flu may develop quickly and can include:

Sudden fever, chesty cough, sore throat, aching body, headache, tiredness, diarrhoea or tummy pain, nausea.

The flu vaccine is the best form of protection, it reduces the risk of catching flu and spreading it to others.

The vaccine is available every flu season for at-risk groups and primary school children. For most children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray.

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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!