Warning as norovirus levels up 50% in a week – the 6 signs you must know | The Sun

NOROVIRUS hospitalisations jumped 50 per cent last week to their highest level this winter, health bosses warned today.

NHS figures show there were 840 adults sick with the vomiting bug in English hospitals in the week ending March 12, compared to 551 the previous seven days. 

It is the highest number since reporting began for the current virus season in November last year.

It is also nearly three times the level at the equivalent point last year, when the average stood at 293.

In total, there were an average of 95,340 patients in hospital beds each day in the week, up 5 per cent on the 90,391 recorded in the same period last year.

Some 13,367 of those patients were no longer ill enough to be there but had nowhere else to go, up 11,619 in the same week in 2022.  

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Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “Last week was a clear reminder that, even as we head into Spring, pressure on NHS staff remains significant.

“Almost 5,000 more patients were in hospital beds every day last week compared to this time last year.

“We’ve seen a surge in norovirus with cases in hospitals increasing by 50 per cent over the past week.” 

Norovirus is a stomach bug that makes you feel sick and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

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Other symptoms include a high temperature, headache and aching arms and legs.

The surge in demand came before the three-day junior doctor strike that finished on Wednesday, which health bosses warned piled further pressure on the struggling health service.  

The number of 111 calls also jumped 12 per cent to 333,778 during the week, up from 297,586 the seven days before. 

He added: “Despite this, the NHS is continuing to deliver progress against its elective recovery plan, with the number of people waiting over 18 months cut by over 9,000 in January compared to the previous month.

“We know there has been little let-up for staff this week with some hospitals experiencing their busiest Monday of the year while strike action continues to present major challenges to hospitals.    

“So, it is important that people continue to come forward for the care they need by using 999 in an emergency or using 111 online for other conditions.”  

The 6 norovirus signs all parents must watch out for:

The symptoms of norovirus come on suddenly and the NHS states the main signs are:

  1. feeling sick (nausea)
  2. diarrhoea
  3. being sick (vomiting)
  4. you may also have a high temperature
  5. a headache
  6. aching arms and legs

Norovirus can spread very easily and you can catch it from having close contact with someone who has the bug.

Touching your mouth after touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them could also lead to you getting it.

Alcohol-based hand gel does not kill norovirus, NHS guidance warns, so washing your hands frequently with soap and water is best way to stop it from spreading.

If you or your child have norovirus, you can usually treat it at home. Make sure to have plenty of rest and avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids.

You'll usually start to feel better within two to three days.

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The NHS advises that you call the helpline if:

  • You're worried about your baby who is younger than 12 months
  • Your child stops breast or bottle feeding while they're ill
  • You think your child under 5 might be dehydrated – signs could include fewer wet nappies
  • You've used rehydration sachets but still have signs of dehydration
  • You or your child keep being sick and can't keep fluids down
  • You or your child have bloody diarrhoea or start bleeding from the bottom
  • You or your child have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 2 days

How 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 with a bleach-based household cleaner or a combination of bleach and water. This includes toilets, taps, telephones, door handles and kitchen surfaces
  • 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

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