Public Health England (PHE) has issued advice on how to avoid the spread of norovirus this winter and what to do if you do contract the virus.

Norovirus is a highly contagious vomiting bug, which normally lasts about 24–48 hours. In the very young, elderly, or those who have weakend immune systems it can last longer—it is particularly important for these patient groups to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Symptoms include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. Steps can be taken to avoid passing it on to others around you, but there is little that can be done to treat it.

Preventing the spread of infection is helped by practising good hand hygiene: including using soap and warm water to thoroughly wash your hands particularly after going to the toilet and before preparing food or eating.

Nick Phin, PHE National Infection Service Deputy Director, explained: 

‘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. If anyone has symptoms and is concerned they should contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone.’