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Help Us, Help You this Winter – Advice on Common Illnesses

Help Us, Help You this Winter – Advice on Common Illnesses
26 November 2019

The nights are getting darker, the cold weather is here and winter illnesses are on the increase. It’s important to look after yourself, your friends and family.

The three common illnesses in the winter are Flu, colds, and norovirus/diarrhoea and vomiting bugs.


Flu is very infectious and spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. To reduce the risk of spreading flu, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with warm water and soap, and bin used tissues as quickly as possible. Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.


You can help prevent colds by washing your hands regularly. This destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people, such as light switches, door handles and work spaces.

If you get a cold, use disposable tissues instead of fabric handkerchiefs to avoid constantly re-infecting your own hands.

Norovirus/ Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Also known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is an extremely infectious stomach bug. It can strike all year round, but is more common in winter and in places such as hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

The illness is unpleasant, but it's usually over within a few days. When people are ill with vomiting and diarrhoea, it's important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

In adults and children diarrhoea usually stops within 5 to 7 days and vomiting usually stops in 1 or 2 days.

Stay off work until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least 2 days/ 48 hours.

To help avoid spreading an infection:

  • Stay at home and get plenty of rest
  • Drink lots of fluids, such as water or squash – take small sips if you feel sick
  • Eat when you feel able to – you don't need to eat or avoid any specific foods
  • Take paracetamol if you're in discomfort
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
  • Wash any clothing or bedding that has faeces or vomit on it separately on a hot wash
  • Clean toilet seats, flush handles, taps, surfaces and door handles every day
  • Do not prepare food for other people, if possible.