The vulnerable and those with long-term health conditions in The Black Country should take extra care this winter to avoid norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug.
For most people, the condition is an unpleasant experience which requires plenty of fluids and rest. However, for people who are already ill or vulnerable, such as the elderly, very young, those in hospital or those with long term conditions, it can have a much greater impact.
Dr Steve Mann, GP said: “Most people make a full recovery within one or two days from the norovirus – but this is not the case for everyone. For patients already ill in hospital or those with long term conditions, this virus can cause further health complications. It is vital, therefore, to prevent the spread of the condition to help protect ourselves and protect others.”
The symptoms of norovirus begin around 12 to 72 hours after the patient picks up the infection and can usually last for 12 to 60 hours, but sometimes longer.
Most people start with feeling nauseous, often followed by being sick. Many patients will also get watery diarrhoea, a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs or flu like symptoms.
Public places like hospitals, schools and offices are susceptible to outbreaks and people should stay at home until they are free of the symptoms. As it is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Paula Gardner, Chief Nurse for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said: “For patients who are already ill in hospital, norovirus can be a devastating experience, potentially leading to further complications and longer stays in hospital. It is vital therefore to reduce the spread of the infection and protect those vulnerable in our care.”
There are some simple steps to prevent the spread of norovirus;
If you do start to feel unwell with sickness and diarrhoea, a pharmacist can advise on remedies to make you feel better.
For more information on staying well this winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell