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ASK THE DOCTOR: Can I avoid catching the virus?

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Q. I had norovirus last winter. What can I do to avoid it this year?

A. Norovirus (also known as winter vomiting bug) is common in winter, although it can be caught at any time of the year.

You may have norovirus if you experience:

  • Suddenly feeling sick.
  • Projectile vomiting.
  • Watery diarrhoea.

Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.

It is not always possible to avoid getting norovirus, but following the advice below can help stop it spreading.

Stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after symptoms have passed.

You should also avoid goomg to visit anyone who is frail or in hospital during this period of time.

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food.

Don’t rely on alcohol hand gels, as they don’t always kill the virus or clean your hands.

Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated. It is best to use a bleach-based household cleaner.

Wash any items of clothing or bedding that could have become contaminated.

Don’t share towels and flannels.

Flush away any infected poo or vomit in the toilet and clean the surrounding area.

Avoid eating raw, unwashed produce and only eat oysters from a reliable source, as oysters can carry norovirus.

Search ‘norovirus’ on NHSinform.scot for more information. Or use our self help guide at www.nhsinform.scot/self-help-guides/self-help-guide-diarrhoea

It is important to note that some people with certain conditions eg diabetes or on certain medications who have diarrhoea and or vomiting should seek clinical advice if they have symptoms.

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