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As cases of a highly contagious vomiting bug spread throughout the Yorkshire and Humber region local people are being urged to take simple measures to help tackle the virus.

NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking people with diarrhoea and vomiting to avoid GP surgeries and hospitals.

Norovirus, as the illness is known, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and affects people of all ages. Although it can be caught at any time of the year, norovirus is often referred to as the winter vomiting bug as it is more common in the winter.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can be spread by coming into contact with an infected person, a contaminated surface or by consuming contaminated food and water.

Closed spaces, such as hospitals, schools and care homes enable the bug to spread rapidly and an outbreak can close down hospital wards, which has a knock on effect throughout the local NHS and social care system.

Sarah Smyth, the CCG’s Director of Quality and Clinical Governance/Executive Nurse, has said: “Norovirus can be really uncomfortable, but unfortunately there’s no treatment. Most people will recover within a few days, without long term complications.

“People who are infected are usually contagious from the moment they begin to feel ill until at least three days after they recover.

“Norovirus can lead to complications for older people or those with other health issues. Rather than visiting their GP and possibly spreading the virus, we urge people to stay home, drink plenty of fluids and call NHS 111 for advice if necessary.”

Typical symptoms of norovirus include the sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea. Some people may also experience headaches, mild temperatures and stomach cramps.

There are simple steps people can take to reduce the risk of spreading Norovirus:-

  • Thorough hand washing – wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry
  • Don’t prepare food while infected
  • Immediately clean and disinfect surfaces after episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Wash clothes and bed linens that may be contaminated thoroughly
  • Drink plenty of fluids – stay away from caffeine and pay particular attention to the young and elderly for signs of dehydration

More information can be found about norovirus on www.nhs.uk/norovirus.

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