Norovirus is highly contagious and can be passed on to others by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects or by eating contaminated food.
The virus spreads quickly in environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes.
Symptoms of norovirus include:
- A sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- A temperature
- A headache
- Stomach cramps
An expert in norovirus at the Health Protection Agency said:
– John Harris, Health Protection Agency
“People should be vigilant in their hygiene and we would like to remind anyone who has typical symptoms suggestive of norovirus infection to avoid visiting friends or relatives in hospital or care homes. Norovirus infection in hospitals is very disruptive as it can lead to ward closures.
“Having a norovirus infection is very unpleasant but it is short-lived and most people will fully recover in a couple of days. Make sure that you or anyone you are caring for takes plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Over-the-counter medicines can also be useful in reducing headaches and other aches and pains”.
Advice for the public managing a bout of norovirus:
- Do not visit your GP surgery or local A&E Unit. You will recover naturally without treatment.
- Use NHS Direct's new diarrhoea and vomiting online health and symptom checker, to get advice on how to manage your symptoms at home.
- Wash hands thoroughly and regularly at all times, but particularly after using the toilet and before eating.
- Do not visit friends or relatives in hospitals or residential care homes as there is a real risk that you would introduce the infection putting vulnerable people at risk.