Don’t go to work or school if you’re suffering 3 signs of norovirus, expert says


EXPERTS have warned staying away from work or school is vital if you are suffering symptoms of norovirus.

Cases of the highly contagious tummy bug have been rising in recent weeks, according to the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA).


A stomach bug might cause a high temperatureCredit: Getty – Contributor

The “winter vomiting bug” can leave a person unwell for around two days.

It causes vomiting and diarrhoea, and sometimes a high temperature or headaches.

Data show that despite norovirus sparking more outbreaks, it is generally circulating at levels lower than expected.

UKHSA says that cases are lower than the five-year average and compared to pre-Covid seasons. 

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Rotavirus infections, however, are six per cent above the five-year average, with a surge in recent weeks.

Rotavirus is another stomach virus that causes diarrhoea, vomiting and tummy pain.

Babies should be vaccinated against rotavirus before 15 weeks. But it’s possible breakthrough infections can occur. 

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety, UKHSA said: “Norovirus and rotavirus are easily passed on to those around you and while unpleasant, most people get over it within a day or two. 

“However, it can last longer in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems. 

“Symptoms of norovirus and rotavirus infection include vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature and tummy pain or cramps.

“Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus and rotavirus symptoms and do not return to work or school until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.

“[Do] not visit elderly relatives, especially in care homes or hospitals while unwell. 

“If you catch these bugs, it is important to drink water to avoid dehydration.”

Dr Larkin warned that the measures to ward off these nasty stomach bugs are not the same as Covid.

We have all gotten used to using alcohol hand sanitisers to prevent coronavirus infection – but these do not work against norovirus and rotavirus.

“Handwashing with soap and warm water often is key to help stop the spread of these bugs,” Dr Larkin said.

The signs of a stomach bug

The main signs of a stomach bug are:

  1. Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)
  2. Diarrhoea
  3. Tummy pain or cramps

You may also have:

  • A high temperature
  • A headache
  • Aching arms and legs
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appette

Signs of dehydration in adults and children

  • Thirst
  • Dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • A dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • Peeing little, and fewer than four times a day

In children or babies

  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Eyes that look sunken
  • Fewer wet diapers than usual
  • Crankiness or irritability

The NHS says norovirus can “spread very easily” from just being in close contact with an infected person.

Touching items or surfaces, or eating food that’s been prepared by someone with the bug, are also routes of transmission.

Meanwhile rotavirus spreads before a person is even showing symptoms.

It is present in their stool for two days before they are unwell. If a person, including a child, does not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet, they can contaminate surfaces, food and more.

Adults may also pick up and spread the bug from an infected child if they help them use the toilet or change their nappies.

With both rotavirus and norovirus, it is possible to get severe dehydration caused by diarrhoea and vomiting.

This can become life-threatening.

When sick with either of the unpleasant bugs, it is important to keep fluid levels up by drinking lots of water. 

It comes amid a mystery outbreak of hepatitis in children, with 108 cases detected so far in the UK.

Eight have needed a liver transplant, which experts say is rare given that children rarely get severe hepatitis.

Health officials have urged parents to keep a watch for signs of the condition, which includes dark urine and yellow skin.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said there is increasing evidence the hepatitis is linked with adenovirus infection.

Adenoviruses infect the tissue linings of the respiratory tract, eyes, intestines, urinary tract and nervous system.

Infections include the ear, common colds, pink eye and tonsillitis, causing symptoms including coughs, sore throats, diarrhoea and fever.

“It is not usual to see this pattern of disease from adenovirus,” the experts said.

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Dr Chaand urged parents to help prevent the spread of viruses by supervising their children when washing their hands to make sure they are doing so thoroughly.

Respiratory hygiene includes encouraging children to catch their sneezes in a tissue or the crook of their elbow and coughing into their hand. 


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