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WATCH: Cornwall's norovirus warnings

norovirus
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5:31pm 13th November 2017
(Updated 5:31pm 13th November 2017)

Cornwall is being urged to know the signs of norovirus to ease the pressure on our health care system.

In the last month, four outbreaks of the sickness bug have been recorded.

That is down on this time last year though.

Now South West Public Health England is issuing advice on how to avoid getting norovirus and what to do if you become unwell.

Norovirus is an unpleasant vomiting bug that usually lasts about two days.

There's not much that can be done to treat it but there are ways to reduce the risk of passing it on to those around you.

It is highly contagious and so it's important to practise good hygiene by thoroughly washing hands with soap and warm water, staying away from places like hospitals and care homes and avoiding preparing food or having close contact with others when ill to limit the spread of norovirus - which causes unpleasant, but short lived, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Mike Wade, Deputy Director of Health Protection for South West, PHE said: "Norovirus can be unpleasant and is easily passed on to those around you.

"Most people get over it within a day or two but in the very young, elderly or those who have weakened immune systems it can last longer and it is easy to get dehydrated, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent this.

"It is transmitted by touching hands or surfaces that the virus has landed on. All surfaces should be thoroughly disinfected after any episode of illness.

"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."

One of the best ways to protect against norovirus and to help prevent infection is by practising good hygiene.

 

This includes thorough hand washing with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food.

Symptoms of norovirus include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Illness typically lasts about 24 to 48 hours.

 

Simple precautions can reduce the spread of Norovirus:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Have plenty of rest
  • Thorough hand washing to prevent others becoming infected. Always clean your hands with soap and hot water when entering and leaving a hospital, nursing home or anywhere else where there are vulnerable people
  • Do not handle or prepare food for other people for a minimum of 48 hours until symptom free
  • Avoid contact with anyone suffering from the virus for two to three days after they are completely free of symptoms
  • Medical advice should be sought if symptoms continue beyond 48 hours
  • Call the NHS 111 helpline if symptoms do not quickly subside or you have additional concerns; visit NHS Choices website or your pharmacist.

Preventing norovirus:

  • Stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have passed. You should also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food. Don't rely on alcohol hand gels, as they do not kill the virus.
  • Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated. It's best to use a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Wash any items of clothing or bedding that could have become contaminated separately on a hot wash to ensure the virus is killed.
  • Don't share towels and flannels.
  • Flush away any infected poo or vomit in the toilet and clean the surrounding area.
  • Avoid eating raw, unwashed produce and only eat oysters from a reliable source, as oysters can carry norovirus.

Symptoms:

  • suddenly feeling sick
  • projectile vomiting
  • watery diarrhoea
5:31pm 13th November 2017

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