Families urged not to let unpleasant norovirus bug spoil half term holidays

Rising cases of norovirus across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have prompted the region’s doctors to urge families to do what they can to not let the sickness bug hamper half term plans.

In recent weeks, the number of people complaining of symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea, both of which are synonymous with norovirus, has risen.

During the first week of February, more than 210 calls from people across the region thought to be suffering with norovirus-like symptoms were made to NHS 111.

Dr Andrew Girdher, GP Partner at Box Surgery in Wiltshire and CCG Clinical Chair, said: “Although there has been one particular virus that has held our attention for the last two years, others, such as norovirus, continue to circulate in our communities and make people ill.

“With the half term holidays just around the corner, it’s important that families who may be mixing in wider circles than usual stay mindful to the risk posed by norovirus and take precautions whenever necessary.

“The easiest and most effective precaution is to wash hands regularly with soap and water.

“It’s also really important to stay home whenever any member of the family feels unwell or has an episode of sickness or diarrhoea to avoid spreading the virus to others.”

Norovirus has a reputation for spreading easily from one person to another, and can keep even the healthiest of adults stuck at home for several days with an upset stomach.

The bug is also particularly risky for young children and those who are older, as prolonged bouts of sickness and diarrhoea can lead to other health concerns, such as dehydration.

People can help stop the spread of norovirus by simply washing their hands regularly with soap and water.

Antibacterial hand sanitiser, which has become a staple item in many people’s home during the pandemic, is not 100 per cent effective in killing norovirus germs.

Those who develop sickness and diarrhoea should stay at home and drink plenty of fluids to reduce the risk of dehydration, as well as avoid contact with others, especially those who are in hospital or have recently been unwell, until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have ended.

People with symptoms should also avoid visiting healthcare settings, such as GP practices, pharmacies, hospitals and urgent treatment centres, and instead seek advice from www.nhs.uk.

Any person with persistent symptoms, which do not show signs of improvements after a few days, should access help remotely through NHS 111, which is available online at www.111.nhs.uk or over the phone.