Watch out for symptoms of Norovirus

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People in the Portsmouth area have been warned to be on the lookout for symptoms of Norovirus and take sensible precautions.

Norovirus, sometimes known as the ‘winter vomiting disease’ because it usually occurs during the winter months, often starts to appear in the autumn peaking during January. It is highly contagious and the most frequent cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales. Typical symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea.

The sickness and diarrhoea can be distressing and you can also feel unwell with a temperature, headache, aching limbs and stomach cramps. It can be very unpleasant while you have it. People suffering will feel very unwell initially but will usually improve quickly as the symptoms settle.

It is a highly infectious disease, affecting people of all ages, with symptoms usually lasting anywhere between a few hours to a couple of days. Most people do recover quickly.

Hospitals such as the QA at Cosham have sometimes had to shut wards after a visitor unwittingly brought in the virus.

Experts say that if someone suspects they have Norovirus they should ensure they do not visit hospitals, schools or care homes to reduce the risk of them passing it on to others. They should also avoid work, only returning after they have been free of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours as during this time infectious viruses may still be present.

People suffering do not usually need to consult their GP unless symptoms are very bad or continue beyond 48 hours.

The NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) can provide further advice. You can also call the NHS 111 helpline if symptoms do not quickly subside or you have additional concerns.