16 March 2011, 15:11 | Updated: 17 March 2011, 17:06
NHS Surrey issues advice on norovirus and preventing the spread of germs as hospitals, including the East Surrey in Redhill see a rise in cases
The vomiting bug known as ‘norovirus’ is common this time of year and can spread quickly. Health experts are reminding people that simple steps such as washing hands regularly can help keep you and your family well.
Norovirus can cause a sudden attack of vomiting, often accompanied by diarrhoea and tummy pains. The illness usually lasts around two days and most people can recover by resting at home and drinking plenty of liquids.
Dr Akeem Ali, Director of Public Health for Surrey explains:
“As ever prevention is better than cure and people can reduce their chances of becoming ill by paying good attention to hygiene. This means washing your hands regularly and well and keeping surfaces clean and germ-free.
“Although the bug is nasty, it doesn’t usually need a trip to hospital. Instead, people should drink plenty of fluids - and because bugs like norovirus spread quickly, they should stay at home to avoid passing the infection on to others.
“It’s vital that if you get a tummy bug you do not visit friends and relatives in hospitals or care homes as this increases the risk of spreading the infection. This can lead to hospital wards being closed and puts services under extra pressure. While we know it’s difficult if you want to visit friends and family, please wait just a couple of days until you’re fully recovered.
Dr Ali warned that norovirus can be more serious for some groups of people.
“If a baby or child is ill with vomiting symptoms, or if you are particularly concerned about someone who is very ill or getting worse, then of course you should ring NHS Direct for advice.”
“If you’re not sure where to get help – or whether you need to see a doctor - call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.” Dr Ali added.