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Vomiting bug circulating

16/11/2012

Scots were today urged to take some basic precautions to prevent bugs spreading.

Following the start of this year’s norovirus season, Scotland's Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer have urged people to follow a few simple precautions to protect more vulnerable friends and family.

This includes the very young, the elderly and the sick along with people in hospitals and care homes.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns said:

”Norovirus, or the winter vomiting bug, spreads quickly where people are living or working in close proximity such as schools, hospitals, care homes, offices and hotels. The virus is highly infectious and unpleasant but fortunately most people make a full recovery with no complications.

“Rates of norovirus fluctuate from year to year with occasional spikes so we cannot estimate how severe this winter season will be. However, it has started earlier than usual this year, and this may be indicative of a higher than normal level of norovirus circulating this winter. We remain vigilant and ready to cope with whatever the winter has in store.”

Chief Nursing Officer Ros Moore added:

“The symptoms of norovirus usually clear up in a couple of days and are generally not serious. However, diarrhoea can be serious in babies and the elderly because of the risk of dehydration. If diarrhoea is persistent or there are other symptoms such as bleeding you should contact your GP.

“The Scottish Government and health boards monitor norovirus outbreaks closely throughout the year, taking every step to minimise its impact on people who use and work in our hospitals.

“But there are simple steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of the virus including washing your hands properly. If you have vomiting or diarrhoea you should not go to school or work until 48 hours after your symptoms have ended.

“There may also be times when hospitals or care homes will ask you not to visit during an outbreak to prevent further spread of the virus. During the winter season please check with the hospital or care home before you go to visit.”

If you do catch the winter vomiting bug the advice is:

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-milky liquid to replace lost fluids
  • Take oral rehydration solution to replace lost salts and fluids
  • Make sure your hands are clean to prevent the illness spreading
  • Don't prepare food for other people especially babies or older people


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