CASES of norovirus have climbed once more across the UK, data from the NHS has revealed.
The number of patients in hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting or norovirus symptoms increased from 371 to 393 in the last week.
This time last year, this figure was at 316, the data showed.
It’s the fourth week in a row that infections from the bug have climbed since the start of the year.
Coming into January, parents were urged to teach their children good hygiene practices before heading back to school.
And last week, it was revealed that infections are higher than the five season average, surpassing pre-Covid levels.
On top of that, the number of people being taken to hospital via ambulance to A&E has increased to 78,431 from 77,937 in the last week.
The number of people calling 111 for advice on their symptoms have also increase from 316,394 to 331,206.
Bed occupancy remains high at 93.8 per cent last week, in line with the levels reported the previous week.
NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said the NHS remains under significant pressure.
“Last week saw more people being taken to A&E by ambulance than the week before, bed occupancy is still constrained and the number of people remaining in hospital who no longer need to be there has increased to almost 14,000 (13,983), while illnesses like flu and norovirus remain a real concern.
“NHS staff are working incredibly hard to continue to provide the best care for our patients in the face of continued demand, and we are incredibly grateful for their efforts over this winter, which we know has been particularly challenging.
“As ever, people should come forward for the care they need – using 999 and A&E in an emergency and NHS 111 Online otherwise,” he added.
Do you have norovirus?
The symptoms of norovirus come on suddenly and the NHS states the main signs are:
- feeling sick (nausea)
- being sick (vomiting)
- you may also have a high temperature
- a headache
- aching arms and legs
The symptoms start suddenly within one to two days of being infected, guidance states.
If you have the illness, the best thing to do it rest and have lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Hwo to protect yourself from norovirus
Norovirus can be nasty, but there are ways that you can prevent you and your family catching the bug.
- Pay close attention to hygiene – wash your hands frequently, using soap and water
- Avoid close contact with people who are obviously sick
If you or members of your household are ill:
- Try to keep those with symptoms away from others until the illness has subsided for at least 48 hours
- Clean frequently – disinfect any potentially contaminated surfaces or objects
- Wash contaminated clothing or bedding using detergent at high temperature (60C)
- Do not allow anyone who is sick to prepare food for other people
- Anyone who has symptoms should drink fluids and stay well hydrated. Consider adding rehydration salts to water. Eat plain foods (if you can manage eating).
- Seek medical attention if symptoms are not improving after 24 hours, or if concerned. This is especially important for young children and the elderly, as they are prone to rapid dehydration.
You’ll start to feel better in two to three days.
Norovirus is spread very easily and you can catch it if you’ve had close contact with someone who has had the bug.
You might also be unwell if you have touched surfaces or objects that have the virus on them, and then you’ve touched your mouth.
Eating foods that have been prepared or handled by someone with the bug also raises your risk of catching it.
If you or your child’s symptoms get worse and you’ve been ill for more than seven days you should call 111.
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