As winter approaches, experts are beginning to issue advice on how to avoid getting norovirus and what to do if you become unwell.
The HSE says that norovirus, or the winter vomiting bug, can affect between 10,000 and 20,000 people per week in Ireland when the virus is at its peak.
The bug, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, can also cause a raised temperature (over 38 degrees celsius), headaches, stomach cramps, and aching limbs.
The contagious virus is nothing to worry about, the HSE says, and as there is no specific cure you just have to let it run its course, which should only last a couple of days.
They advise that you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and practice good hygiene to help prevent it from spreading.
What to do if you catch the bug:
- To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water.
- If you feel like eating, eat food that will be easy to digest such as soup, dry toast and bananas.
- If you have a fever, aches, or pains, take paracetamol.
- If you’re pregnant, don’t worry, the bug won’t affect your baby.
- Don’t go to the doctor as there is nothing the doctor can do to treat it and the bug is very contagious.
- If the symptoms last longer than a few days however, visit your GP.
How to stop it spreading:
The HSE says the virus is easily spread, especially through your hands. It can also be caught through contaminated food or drink, or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. They advise that you:
- Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
- Do not share towels and flannels.
- Wash bedsheets/clothes/towels a sick person has used on a high heat.
- Disinfect any surfaces that an infected person has touched.
Nick Phin, National Infection Service Deputy Director, PHE says that the very young, elderly, or and those with a weakened immune system can be most vulnerable to the bug.
“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.”
For more on norovirus, follow this link:
For parents and guardians, more details can be found on how bugs affect kids by following this link: