Norovirus self care advice

Thu 05th March 2015

NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group is urging those experiencing symptoms of norovirus to stay at home and to telephone NHS 111 for advice, rather than visit their local hospital or GP surgery.

Each year, it is estimated that between *600,000 and 1 million people in the UK catch norovirus. The illness is sometimes called the “winter vomiting bug” because it’s more common in winter. However, you can catch the virus at any time of the year.

Typical symptoms of a norovirus infection include:

  • the sudden onset of projectile vomiting
  • watery diarrhoea
  • some people also experience headaches, mild temperature and stomach cramps

There is no treatment for the virus but it is important to keep yourself hydrated to prevent fluid loss.

Dr John Matthews, Clinical Chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Norovirus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes. It can be spread through contact with an infected person; by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects or by consuming contaminated food or water.”

“Those with symptoms of norovirus will probably feel very unwell for a couple of days but will get better. However, it could cause further health complications for patients already ill in hospital, making it vital that the virus is not introduced into the hospital environment. We strongly urge anyone affected to stay at home and to telephone NHS 111 for advice.”

The following self-care tips will help to ease the symptoms of norovirus:

  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains
  • if you feel like eating, eat foods that are easy to digest
  • stay at home – don’t go to see your GP because norovirus is contagious and there’s nothing your GP 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.

Extra care should be taken to prevent babies and small children who have diarrhoea and vomiting from dehydrating by giving them plenty of fluids. Babies and young children can still drink milk.

If you or a relative have norovirus and you want further help and advice, you can call NHS 111. For further information about norovirus, visit the NHS Choices website.