Norovirus: How to clean up after someone who vomits
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Hospital admissions for norovirus have increased dramatically, with an average of 840 adult hospital beds occupied last week by patients who have the infection. According to NHS data, hospital admissions are up by 52 percent compared to the week prior. In addition, the latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed that norovirus cases are 47 percent higher now than the five-year average pre Covid.
Dubbed the “winter vomiting bug” by the NHS, the main symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Those infected might also have a high temperature, a headache, and achy arms and legs.
“The symptoms start suddenly within one to two days of being infected,” the health body adds.
People mostly affected by the outbreak fall into two categories: people over the age of 65 and children under the age of five.
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Most people can tend to their illness at home by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, and resting.
While people are strongly advised to avoid going into work or school, to help prevent the spread of the bug, most individuals make a full recovery within three days.
“Stay off school or work until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least two days,” the NHS advises.
Norovirus can spread between people fairly easily, especially if an infected person is in close contact with somebody else.
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Even touching surfaces and objects that have the virus on them can lead to an infection if you then place your hands near your mouth, eyes, or nose.
“Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading,” the NHS adds. “Alcohol hand gels do not kill norovirus.”
The majority of norovirus outbreaks have been reported in care homes settings, which can be troublesome.
The UKHSA said: “The elderly, or those with weakened immunity, are at risk of suffering more serious and prolonged illness which may require medical treatment.
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“Norovirus immunity is short-lived and there is no cross-strain immunity.
“Therefore it is possible to have multiple norovirus infections in a short period of time if you’re exposed to different strains.”
Do contact the emergency services if any of the following occurs:
- If you vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
- Have green or yellow-green vomit
- Might have swallowed something poisonous
- Have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
- Have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache.
Do note that norovirus can not be treated with antibiotics, as the bug is caused by a viral (and not bacterial) infection.
People who catch the stomach bug are at risk of dehydration, which is why an infected person must drink plenty of fluids.
Symptoms of dehydration can include:
- Feeling thirsty
- Dark yellow, strong-smelling pee
- Peeing less often than usual
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling tired
- A dry mouth, lips and tongue
- Sunken eyes.
“If you feel sick or have been sick, you may find it hard to drink, so start with small sips and then gradually drink more,” the NHS adds.
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