Norovirus: how to avoid it and what to do if you're victim to the winter vomiting bug

(184 ratings)
Morning sickness
Every year, the winter vomiting virus / norovirus, affects up to 1 million people in Britain. This nasty bug causes vomiting and diarrhoea - and unfortunately, it's been reported in the news that it's on the rise again. Read our advice on how to avoid it and what to do if you think you've got it.

The best way to avoid the dreaded winter vomiting bug is to stay well away from sick people - but if you're stuck in an office, got kids to feed or shopping to do, you can't exactly live like a hermit until it disappears.

So how can you avoid the norovirus and what should you do if you're unlucky enough to get it? We've put together some top tips - using advice from NHS Direct to help you avoid this nasty bug. And we've got expert advice if you are unlucky enough to get it! 

How to avoid the norovirus

  • It may seem like common sense but always wash your hands well with soap and water after using the toilet, especially public ones.
  • Disinfect any surfaces you think could have been contaminated by the virus.
  • Avoid eating raw, unwashed food.

How to stop other people catching the norovirus from you

  • If you've got the norovirus, clean any kitchen worktops or bathroom surfaces you've touched with a disinfectant spray. This includes door handles and stair bannisters. Remember to throw out the cloth you use to wipe the sides down too. Germs can last for up to three days on unwashed surfaces and projectile vomiting can spread the germs up to 10 feet away!
  • Don't keep a bucket by the bed or with you in front of the TV. Unless you disinfect it every time you're sick, it will stay as a breeding ground for germs. Try to get to the bathroom.
  • Always flush the toilet after you've used it but make sure you put the lid down so that the water, and whatever else, doesn't splash out.
  • Change your clothes or nightclothes after you've been sick and if you're sitting around in a dressing gown or with a towel near you wash these as well.
  • Make sure you change your bedsheets as often as possible and wash them immediately on 60°C. Try not to leave them in a laundry basket.
  • Don't prepare food for anyone else for at least three days after the symptoms have gone. 

     Unfortunately there is no instant cure for the norovirus - you just

need to let it run its course. It's usually harmless, but very

GP Dr Robert Henderson said: 'It's dehydration, rather than the virus
itself, that is dangerous. The loss of water and essential minerals from
dehydration prevents the body from functioning normally and causes
potentially serious complications'.

Dr Henderson recommends oral dehydration therapy that you can buy from a
supermarket or pharmacy (such as Dioralyte) to help speed up
re-hydration and replace the body salts that you have lost.

Other things you can do to help speed up recovery from the norovirus
  • Sip fresh water as often as you can - although be aware that if you're
still being sick, your body won't be able to retain the fluid.
  • Stay off work (or school) until 48 hours after the symptoms have gone.
Try to avoid coming into contact with people for these few days.
  • Try sticking to a light diet when you feel up to it - foods that are
easy to digest (such as soup, rice, pasta and bread) are best to start

Where to next?

- NHS Direct 

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