Winter vomiting bug is coming

The norovirus is a particularly unpleasant sign of the season
The norovirus is a particularly unpleasant sign of the season

As the autumn leaves fall from the trees, we can spot the stereotypical signs of winter - the sun low in the sky, shops putting up decorations… a sudden queasy feeling in the pit of the stomach.

With the season inevitably comes an assortment of illnesses and viruses, including a regular unwelcome visitor - the norovirus.

Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis, an unpleasant inflammation of the digestive system.

Though it isn’t life-threatening, it is a rough ride for those who catch it. Symptoms include diarrhoea and projectile vomiting, fever, headaches and aching limbs.

They tend to clear up within two days, although the very young and very old may get dehydrated and need hospital care.

The bug is highly contagious. It spreads through contact with an infected person or contaminated object, including food.

It often breaks out in offices, hospitals and schools, and hits much harder in the winter – hence its unflattering nickname, “the winter vomiting bug”. According to PHE, the number of laboratory reports of the virus over the past months is 29 per cent up on last year.

If you’ve contracted norovirus…

Don’t go out in public until 48hrs after your symptoms subside.

Don’t visit your GP. Call them, or the NHS helpline 111.

Stay hygienic. Wear gloves when touching shared surfaces.

Don’t share food or utensils.

Drink water, with rehydration salts or paracetamol if necessary.

Get plenty of rest.