Norovirus and Other Illnesses

Anyone suspected to have norovirus, otherwise known as the winter vomiting bug, should avoid going straight to hospital or visiting their GP and instead seek telephone advice from NHS 111. This helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

Norovirus is highly infectious and it can seriously endanger those who are already ill (especially the young and elderly). Please do not visit hospitals or other health care settings if you (or someone you have been in contact with) have had diarrhoea and/or vomiting until at least 48 hours after these symptoms have stopped.

Some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the spread to norovirus and other bugs are:

  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water, particularly before eating and after going to the toilet. Avoid preparing food for other people but if you really have to, make sure you wash your hands before cooking
  • Stay at home. There is usually no need to visit your GP or local hospital unless a medical professional has advised you to. If you or a relative is experiencing sickness and diarrhoea, drink plenty of fluids and try to eat foods that are easy to digest such as soup, bread, pasta and rice. Babies should be given their normal feed.
  • Children and older people can be more severely affected by norovirus. If you are concerned about yours or a friend or relative’s symptoms then contact NHS 111 or visit the NHS Choices symptom checker.
  • Avoid hospital visits. People in hospital are already ill and may be more severely affected if they get norovirus because it can stop some medicines from working properly. If you or a close friend, work colleague or relative has experienced sickness or diarrhoea in the last 72 hours then it is essential to avoid visiting the hospital.
  • Don’t go to work until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped. Before this time you are still contagious and could pass the illness on to your colleagues.
  • Do your laundry on a 60 degree centigrade cycle to get rid of any bacteria lingering on clothing and bedding. Also remember to disinfect toilets, basins, sinks and door handles regularly with an antibacterial household cleaning product.