Be on your guard against winter bug - warns health authority

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NHS Lanarkshire is reminding people to take precautions to help prevent the spread of the winter vomiting bug over the festive period.

The reminder comes at a time when the weather often gets colder resulting in viruses like norovirus, colds and flu becoming more common.

However, Emer Shepherd, NHS Lanarkshire’s head of infection, prevention and control, is reminding people that frequent hand washing and disposing of used tissues can be the most effective way to help prevent the spread of these illnesses.

Emer said: “Norovirus - also known as winter vomiting disease and/or diarrhoea bug - is highly infectious and can cause a very unpleasant but generally short-lived illness.

“The main symptoms are vomiting and/or diarrhoea and unfortunately there is no specific treatment for the illness apart from letting it run its course.

“However, most people will usually recover without treatment within one or two days.”

Norovirus is highly infectious and can spread rapidly in communities such as hospitals, care homes, sheltered housing accommodation and schools.

If people think they have it they should drink plenty of fluids and avoid contact with others and stay away from work or school until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.

Particular attention should be paid to elderly people or children who may be worse affected.

If the illness persists for more than a few days, they should contact their family doctor by phone or take advice from NHS 24 on 111.

Emer added: “The best method is prevention and something as simple as washing your hands can go a long way in preventing the spread of infections, particularly after visiting the toilet and before eating.

“It is also good to get into the habit of using a hand washing technique similar to that used by hospital staff.”

For more information on how to be health-wise this winter visit: www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk/HealthyLiving/Winter.