How can we can help stop the spread of Norovirus this winter?

How can we can help stop the spread of Norovirus this winter?

Published at 2:17pm 22nd November 2019.

3 minute read

Public Health England is asking us to take precautions to keep nasty vomiting bugs at bay.

There's been a big increase in the number of norovirus cases across the South West in recent weeks.

They're asking for our help to prevent the illness spreading further - and we need to Think NORO: 

  • N - No visits to hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries if you are suffering from symptoms of Norovirus - send someone else to visit loved ones until you are better
  • O - Once you've been symptom-free for at least 48 hours, you're safe to return to work, school or visit hospitals and care home
  • R - Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food 
  • O - Only hand-washing will prevent spread of Norovirus - alcohol hand gels DON'T kill the virus 
High Temperature Virus
One of the symptoms of the norovirus is a high temperature


Public Health England and NHS England say norovirus can live on hard surfaces for hours, and can spread quickly.

It's more common where people are mingling closely together and may have lower immune systems - like schools, nurseries, care homes and hospitals.

There's a few tips that we can all follow to protect ourselves and others from catching the sickness bug: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap
  • Keep the environment you live and work in clean
  • Remember alcohol or antibacterial hand sanitisers are NOT an effective protection
Hand Washing
Only thorough hand washing to guarantee the norovirus bacteria isn't being spread

Dominic Mellon, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health England South West, said:

"Levels of norovirus are increasing in line with expected levels so far this winter but many schools, nurseries, hospitals and care homes across the South West have reported outbreaks in recent weeks.

"The symptoms of norovirus include suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting, and watery diarrhoea. Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs. The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to 2 or 3 days.

"Anyone who has been infected should stay off work or school for 48 hours after their symptoms have ceased."

Noroviris Infographic November 2019
PHE has put put some advice on what to do to treat norovirus

Michael Marsh, Medical Director & Chief Clinical Information Officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement - South West, said: 

"If you are feeling unwell, have diarrhoea or vomiting; please don't visit a hospital for at least 48 hours after the last symptom has gone. Norovirus can have a serious impact on patients who are often more vulnerable to catching it.

"Self-treating at home is the best way to help yourself and avoid putting others at risk. You don't normally need to see your GP as usually fluids and paracetamol to relieve pain, as required, are sufficient prior to its resolution - antibiotics won't help because it's caused by a virus.

"If you're concerned, the NHS 111 service is a helpful alternative to presenting to your GP in person for advice."

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