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NHS Highland's information about norovirus

By Andrew Dixon

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NHS Highland has issued tips for people to help to minimise the spread of norovirus.

A spokeswoman for the health board said: "There is no specific treatment for a norovirus infection and it is not usually necessary to visit a doctor. The best course of action is to stay at home and to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

"People should also adhere to strict hand washing techniques to reduce the spread of the virus."

She added, people can help to minimise the spread by following some "simple rules":

  • Avoid going to your GP, as norovirus can spread to others very easily. Phone your GP practice or NHS 24 on 111 when your GP is closed if you're concerned or need advice. You can also visit NHS Inform website for self-care advice.
  • Do not visit a hospital if you or someone you live with has symptoms. If you have a hospital appointment, please get in touch and, where appropriate, your appointment can be rescheduled.
  • Wait until you have been clear of symptoms for 72 hours, as you may still be contagious, even if you feel well.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating.
  • If you visit someone in hospital, don't sit on their bed and keep the number of visitors to a minimum at any one time. Never touch dressings, drips, or other equipment around the bed.

She also shared some facts about norovirus:

  • Norovirus occurs all year round, particularly every winter, in the community, and is unrelated to hospital cleanliness.
  • There is no vaccine.
  • The virus continually changes and people don’t develop lasting immunity, so you can catch it more than once in a season.
  • Norovirus can survive for days on any surface – including exposed food and wrapped food items.

And she provided this advice to people:

  • Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, is a highly contagious virus which causes vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
  • The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea.
  • Symptoms usually last a couple of days, although this can be longer in elderly people.
  • People are most likely to spread infection when they have symptoms and for up to 72 hours after your symptoms have gone.
  • It is more serious and even more easily spread among people who are already ill.

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