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Winter Wellbeing – protect yourself against norovirus

22 January 2019

Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we advise people on what to do if they catch norovirus and how to prevent the spread of germs. 

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and is highly contagious. It’s also called the ‘winter vomiting bug’, because it’s more common at this time of the year. 

You can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces, having close contact with an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms to look out for are:

  • Feeling sick (nausea);
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Being sick (vomiting). 

You may also have:

  • A high temperature of 38C or above;
  • A headache;
  • Aching arms and legs. 

The symptoms start suddenly within one to two days of being infected.

While norovirus can be very unpleasant, it normally clears up by itself in a few days and you don’t usually need to get medical advice. However, you should get advice if there’s a risk of a more serious problem, such as your symptoms haven’t started to improve after a few days, or you have a long-term health condition, such as kidney disease. 

Norovirus can spread to others very easily and there is no specific treatment for it. The advice to residents is to try and avoid going to your GP if you have the bug. Instead, if you are concerned or need any advice, stay at home and ring your surgery or NHS 111. 

There are also some simple precautions you can take to help prevent the virus from spreading, including washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water – particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food – disinfecting any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated and not sharing towels or flannels.

You should also stay off work and keep any affected children away from school or nursery until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared. You should also refrain from visiting anyone in hospital, or a relative with a long term health condition, during this time.  

CCllr Liz Wardlawouncillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “If you do fall ill with norovirus this winter, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you’re feeling better. As it’s a virus, antibiotics won’t help your symptoms but there are a few things you can do to lessen the effects.  

“Advice includes drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, taking paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains, getting plenty of rest and, if you feel up to it, eating plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.” 

Lots of information and advice about norovirus are available on the NHS website

For further winter-related advice, visit our Winter Wellbeing  section. Advice can also be found on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from our website and giving it to them.