As cases rise, the HSE has issued some tips on avoiding a nasty bout of norovirus
It’s extremely contagious.
And while symptoms of norovirus, also known as winter vomiting bug, are usually mild and last only a day or two, the HSE has issued some helpful advice on how to protect yourself from 24 hours of sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea.
In the first ten weeks of 2023 there have been 394 cases of norovirus recorded in Ireland, almost four times the number of cases recorded in the first ten weeks of 2022. Young children and elderly people have been the most affected with half of cases (50 percent) aged over 65 years and (28 percent) of cases aged under five years.
Norovirus ‘lasts a long time on surfaces’
“Norovirus is very easily spread between people, but it also lasts for a long time on surfaces, and if you touch a surface contaminated with norovirus and then touch your mouth, this can make you sick,” explains Dr Paul McKeown, HPSC consultant in public health medicine, HSE.
“Cleaning your hands with soap and water is the best protection against catching norovirus and it is important to note that alcohol hand gels do not work against the virus.”
People who are ill with norovirus should stay at home and not go to work, or school, and they should not visit nursing homes or hospitals until 48 hours after their symptoms have gone.
“If you or any family members develop forceful vomiting, do not visit your GP’s surgery without phoning ahead first,” added Dr McKeown.
Norovirus, also known as winter vomiting bug, is an easily spread virus that causes sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea. Cases of Norovirus are increasing in Ireland.
For information on the symptoms and how to help stop the spread of infection, visit: https://t.co/DNIrRXMMy0 pic.twitter.com/X0z2p2xv9P
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) March 21, 2023
“It is often impossible to prevent norovirus, however, taking good hygiene measures around someone who is infected can reduce your chance of getting infected.”
Norovirus infection is usually mild and lasts only a day or two. However, young children and elderly people can become very sick.
Dr McKeown continues: “People who get sick with norovirus can still spread the infection after their symptoms have gone and there is no treatment for norovirus infection.
“As a result of pandemic restrictions, there was very little norovirus reported in the last few years, but over the last number of months, cases are beginning to rise again. In the US and the UK, they have seen quite high levels of norovirus that are continuing to rise. It is possible that levels of norovirus in Ireland will continue to rise further.”