HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Norovirus - Tis the season for winter vomiting bug

NOROVIRUS, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK. It's also called the "winter vomiting bug" because it's more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year.

You can normally look after yourself or your child at home. Try to avoid going to your GP or to Rotherham Hospital, as norovirus can spread to others very easily. Call NHS 111 if you're concerned or need any advice.

Symptoms of norovirus

You're likely to have norovirus if you experience:

•    suddenly feeling sick

•    projectile vomiting

•    watery diarrhoea

Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs. The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to two or three days.

What to do if you have norovirus

If you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you're feeling better. There's no cure for norovirus, so you have to let it run its course.

You don't usually need to get medical advice unless there's a risk of a more serious problem. To help ease your own or your child’s symptoms:

•    Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea – as well as water, adults could also try fruit juice and soup. Avoid giving fizzy drinks or fruit juice to children as it can make their diarrhoea worse. Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.

•    Take paracetamol, which can buy over the counter at a local shop or pharmacy for any fever or aches and pains.

•    If you feel like eating, eat plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.

•    Adults can take antidiarrhoeal and/or anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medication – these are not suitable for everyone though, so you should check the medicine leaflet or ask or your pharmacist for advice before trying them.

More information on norovirus and how to prevent it can be found on www.nhs.uk