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(Issued March 2015)

NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG is urging those experiencing symptoms of norovirus to stay at home and to telephone NHS 111 for advice, rather than visit their local hospital or GP surgery.

Each year, it is estimated that between *600,000 and 1 million people in the UK catch norovirus. The illness is sometimes called the "winter vomiting bug" because it's more common in winter. However, you can catch the virus at any time of the year.

Typical symptoms of a norovirus infection include:



There is no treatment for the virus but it is important to keep yourself hydrated to prevent fluid loss.

Dr Danny Showell, Public Health Consultant at NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG, said:

Basic hygiene, and in particular through hand washing, is important to limit spread.

The following self-care tips will help to ease the symptoms of norovirus:

drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains

if you feel like eating, eat foods that are easy to digest

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

contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness.

Extra care should be taken to prevent babies and small children who have diarrhoea and vomiting from dehydrating by giving them plenty of fluids. Babies and young children can still drink milk.

If you or a relative have norovirus and you want further help and advice, you can call NHS 111. For further information about norovirus, visit the NHS Choices website.