Warning as norovirus levels ‘significantly higher’ than previous years – the 6 signs to know
NOROVIRUS levels in England are “significantly higher” than last year as hundreds of hospital beds are filled with patients who have the nasty virus.
Official data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that norovirus infections rose by 66 per cent in the week leading up to February 5 – compared to what they normally are at this time of year.
An average of 706 adult hospital beds were occupied by patients with diarrhea and vomiting or norovirus-like symptoms last week, according to NHS data.
That’s down 5 percent from 743 the previous week, but nearly four times the level at this point last year.
dr UKHSA’s Lesley Larkin said: “Norovirus outbreaks continue to rise – particularly among people aged 65 and over, and norovirus levels across England are almost double what we expect at this time of year.
“It is important that anyone who has symptoms avoids visiting loved ones in a nursing home or hospital while they are unwell or until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved to stop the spread to those at risk,” added she added.
The majority of cases have been seen in people over the age of 65 and people living in nursing homes.
And while a high number of cases in this age group is expected at this time of year, experts say these levels have not been observed in years.
Norovirus is the most common infectious cause of vomiting and diarrhea.
It spreads easily through contact with someone who has the virus or with contaminated surfaces.
While most people make a full recovery within two or three days, the virus can cause dehydration, particularly in the very young, elderly, or those with compromised immune systems.
Anyone who has norovirus symptoms should stay at home and not return to work or send sick children to school or daycare until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved, the UKHSA said.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director for England, said the latest figures were a “strong reminder of the increased pressure the NHS is seeing this winter”, with norovirus cases “significantly higher than last year, as well as other seasonal diseases that affect demand for beds”.
He added: “The NHS has fully prepared for the winter, including more call workers, more beds and 24/7 system control centers to cope with the increased demand and we will now get on with our plan to restore emergency and emergency services build on that progress.
“Patients should continue to seek help when they need it, including using 111 online for minor illnesses or 999 in a life-threatening emergency.”
The 6 norovirus signs you need to know
Norovirus symptoms come on suddenly and the NHS lists the top six signs as:
- nausea (nausea)
- nausea (vomiting)
- They can also have a high temperature
- aching arms and legs
Symptoms begin suddenly, within a day or two of exposure, the guide says.
If you have the disease, it’s best to rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
You will feel better after two to three days.
Eating food prepared or handled by someone with the insect also increases your risk of contracting the insect.
If you or your child’s symptoms worsen and you are sick for more than seven days, you should call 911.
How to protect yourself from the norovirus
Norovirus can be nasty, but there are ways you can prevent yourself and your family from catching the virus.
- Pay special attention to hygiene – wash your hands frequently with soap and water
- Avoid close contact with people who are obviously ill
If you or members of your household are ill:
- Try to keep people with symptoms away from others until the illness has cleared for at least 48 hours
- Clean frequently – disinfect any potentially contaminated surfaces or objects
- Wash contaminated clothing or bedding with detergent at high temperature (60°C).
- Do not allow anyone who is ill to prepare food for others
- Anyone who has symptoms should drink fluids and stay well hydrated. Consider adding rehydration salts to the water. Eat simple foods (if you manage to eat).
- See a doctor if symptoms don’t improve after 24 hours or if you’re concerned. This is especially important for young children and the elderly as they tend to dehydrate quickly.
Norovirus is very easy to spread and you can get it if you have been in close contact with someone who had the bug.
You may also feel unwell if you have touched surfaces or objects that have the virus on them and then touched your mouth.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7414661/norovirus-high-warning/ Warning as norovirus levels ‘significantly higher’ than previous years – the 6 signs to know