Norovirus causes diarrhoea, vomiting and flu like symptoms and is highly contagious. It has already affected a number of schools elsewhere in the country, and infected individuals are urged to minimise contact with others to prevent its rapid spread.
Although people usually recover without treatment in around 1 to 3 days, it is important that anyone with norovirus stays away from work, school, colleges or any social gatherings until they have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.
It’s also really important that people with norovirus don’t go to visit loved ones at hospital or in care homes as they could potentially infect other individuals who may already be poorly.
Public Health England has launched a #NoNoro4Xmas social media campaign and John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: “Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly anywhere that people are gathered, such as schools or offices, especially during colder weather.
“It is therefore very important that people think carefully about going into work or school, or visiting public places like hospitals, if they have any symptoms which could potentially be caused by norovirus.”
People with norovirus should rest at home and take plenty of non caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration. Over the counter medicines such as rehydration powders and paracetamol can also help to alleviate symptoms.
Anyone who is worried about their symptoms should not visit their GP or hospital, but instead call NHS 111 or speak to their local pharmacist.
Good hand hygiene can help to limit the spread of norovirus. People should wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with norovirus, flush away any infected faeces or vomit and wash clothing or linen which could have become contaminated.
For more information and advice about winter illnesses, visit NHS - How to stay well in winter.