During the pandemic, lockdowns, social distancing, and the wearing of face masks kept many other viral infections at bay. But now that the British government has adopted a strategy of 'living with COVID,' other viruses are making a comeback and some experts are worried.
One such virus that has been causing sporadic outbreaks in the UK is the norovirus—a winter vomiting bug.
Experts have been concerned that while their levels are relatively low and decreasing, cases are being continuously reported in care home settings. Dr. Lesley Larkin from UK's Health Security Agency said:
Although at lower levels than before the pandemic, norovirus outbreaks continue to be reported in care home settings, so we encourage all those visiting loved ones to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of norovirus infection.
This includes hand washing with soap and warm water regularly and thoroughly, especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food.
What is norovirus?
Norovirus is a short-lived stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. In most cases, the bug goes away within two days, but it can be a menace to society given that it is highly infectious. The NHS states that you can catch the virus by being in close contact with someone who is infected, touching contaminated surfaces and objects and then touching your mouth, and eating food that has been prepared by an infected person.
Most common symptoms
The main indicators that you’ve been infected by the bug are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. In some cases, people also have a high temperature, a headache and pain in the arms and legs. The symptoms will usually start within one or two days of being infected, but you can treat yourself at home. The NHS recommends drinking plenty of fluids to keep the body hydrated.
To prevent getting infected, or infecting others, you should wash your hands frequently using soap. Be wary that alcohol hand gels that are popularly used for COVID will not be effective as they do not kill norovirus.