How to keep “the winter vomiting bug” at bay
Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 | Blog
During the winter months, Norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and often causes a big strain on the NHS due to its highly contagious nature – particularly in confined spaces such as hospitals and nursing homes.
The bug often comes on fast and symptoms include projectile vomiting and severe diarrhoea.
The past few weeks hospital trusts in both Lincoln and Sunderland have been caught short with outbreaks of the Norovirus amongst both patients and staff; marking a sign of things to come with the coldest months still yet to arrive.
There are many simple things that everybody can do to help prevent the spread of the bug and limit the strain it can place on the NHS.
First and foremost, if you believe you may be suffering or coming down with Norovirus, you must refrain from going to work or school for at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This allows sufficient time for your body to fully rid itself of the virus before you begin to enter heavily populated areas.
Washing your hands regularly, disinfecting any surfaces or objects you have come in contact with and washing clothing and bedding that could have become contaminated on a hot wash are also vitally important to help remove the bacteria from your home and reduce the spread of the bug.
Finally, however nasty the winter vomiting bug can be, as it is a virus it cannot be treated by antibiotics and it will usually clear up by itself in a few days, so try to refrain from visiting the doctors or your local A&E unless symptoms persist for more than a few days or you have blood in your diarrhoea. If you are concerned, the best thing to do is call NHS’ free 111 service.
If it is a child with suspected Norovirus however, symptoms can be worse and seeking medical help should take place if they have passed six or more watery stools in 24 hours, demonstrate signs of severe dehydration (such as dizziness or reduced consciousness) or they suffer from underlying health conditions.
Following these few simple steps can massively help the already strained and short staffed NHS this winter, helping free up appointments and beds for the vulnerable that need more serious and urgent treatment.
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