Winter Vomiting Bug

this image shows a furry bug with spindly arms and legs in a Christmas hat

This is one gift not to share at Christmas!

Winter vomiting bug,  coming soon to a hospital near you.

When Norovirus strikes it closes a hospital ward for an average of five to seven days.

Every Winter the debilitating bug, Norovirus heads to hospitals in all regions.   Each year hundreds of hospital wards across the UK are forced to close as medical staff work to treat those with the bug  and try to prevent it spreading.

The bug, which is known as the winter vomiting bug, is more prevalent during the colder months although hospitals  do face outbreaks throughout the year, causes projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea

Health experts are urging people to take a series of simple steps to protect themselves from contracting the bug. Norovirus spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, nursing homes, and schools,where many have  compromised immune systems anyway.

Norovirus spreads if small particles of vomit or faeces from an infected person get into your mouth from eating contaminated food or being in contact with someone with it. Even touching a contaminated surface or object can spread it.

Norovirus and other sickness bugs can have a significant impact on patients in hospital and staff ask visitors not to attend if they have experienced symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting within the last 48 hours.

Anyone who is due to attend an appointment and have had symptoms within the last 48 hours should contact the team they are due to be visiting.

Also , if you are experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting, you are asked to avoid attending A&E, and if you must go you are please asked to advise staff of your symptoms.

Outbreaks of the virus cause ward closures, meaning people aren’t able to visit their loved ones . Norovirus, can have a serious impact on patients, in particular, frail and elderly patients.

Norovirus spreads easily through touch, so good hand hygiene – making sure you use soap and water to clean your hands – is very important. Always use the hand gel provided at the entrance to the ward.

How  do you prevent yourself from getting Norovirus ?

Wash your hands or use antibacterial hand gel.

Norovirus can be very unpleasant but it usually clears up by itself in a few days. You can normally look after yourself or your child at home.

Try to avoid going to your GP, as norovirus can spread to others very easily. Call your GP or NHS 111 if you’re concerned or need any advice.

Symptoms of norovirus

You’re likely to 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. The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to two or three days.

What to do if you do get the bug?

The best thing to do is to stay at home, there’s no cure for norovirus, so it’s best to let it run its course.

You only need medical advice if there’s a risk of a more serious problem.

To ease symptoms of Norovirus

  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea – as well as water, adults could also try fruit juice and soup.
  • Avoid giving fizzy drinks or fruit juice to children as it can make their diarrhoea worse.
  • Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.
  • Take paracetemol for any fever or aches and pains.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • If you feel like eating, eat plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.
  • Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if you have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or dark urine
  • Adults can take antidiarrhoeal and/or anti-vomiting medication  check the medicine leaflet or ask or your pharmacist or GP for advice before trying them.

If in doubt, stay away

this image shows a furry bug with spindly arms and legs in a Christmas hat It’s not a nice bug for Christmas !!




Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.


  1. Thank you for saying so Tristan. As a former student nurse I have always been very hot on handwashing and hand hygiene.

  2. Excellent article. Hand washing is so simple and yet so effective.

    As reported by the BBC, a woman has become the first nurse in England to be struck off for failing to wash her hands after treating a patient with MRSA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.