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Dr Avanthi says… Do you know what to do if you’re suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting?

Dr Avanthi says… Do you know what to do if you’re suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting?
17 January 2018

We’re nearly two weeks into the New Year, but we’re seeing the same old viruses doing the rounds, at a time when our local health services are at their busiest and most vulnerable. In Rotherham, we are seeing an increase in Norovirus – diarrhoea and vomiting bug which spreads easily through our communities at this time of year.

This is one virus that I don’t want to see in my practice, in fact we don’t want to see anyone with the virus in any of our health services. Norovirus spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools and with the schools now back after the festive break that chance of spreading is increased.

Visiting the GP practice or relatives in hospital puts others at risk of infection. There’s no cure and although it’s unpleasant, it’s not usually dangerous with most people making a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see their GP or health professional.

If you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you're feeling better.

Norovirus is most infectious from when their symptoms start until 48 hours after all symptoms have passed, although you may also be infectious for a short time before and after this. You can get norovirus more than once because the virus is always changing, so your body is unable to build up long-term resistance to it.

 If you have norovirus, here are some simple steps that may help ease your symptoms:

 drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

  • take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains
  • stay at home – don’t go to see your GP because norovirus is contagious and there’s nothing your GP can do while you have it
  • get plenty of rest
  • If you feel like eating, eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.
  • ring your GP practice or NHS 111 to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness.

Sickness and diarrhoea is something that most of us wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy, but although it sometimes not always possible to avoid getting the bug, you can reduce your risk by regularly washing your hands with soap and water and make sure surfaces are disinfected on a frequent basis.

At a time when our health services are seeing extreme pressures, we need our doctors and nurses treating those most in need. If you or a family member is suffering from sickness and diarrhoea please stay home, get plenty of rest and whatever you do don’t attend your GP practice or hospital until at least 72 hours after the symptoms have passed.