Cases of norovirus, one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK, are increasing across Fife and causing nasty bouts of illness.
The gastroenteritis virus, sometimes called the winter vomiting bug, causes diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain.
Norovirus can affect any age group and spreads rapidly, but usually clears up by itself in a few days and without the need for medication. Normally people can look after themselves or a child at home.
Although Norovirus is more common in the winter months, people can catch the bug at any time of year. Because it’s highly contagious, anyone experiencing symptoms should avoid going to hospital, attending their GP or visiting a care home so they don’t pass the virus on to others.
Instead, anyone concerned or needing advice should call their GP or the NHS 24 111 service.
Dr Joy Tomlinson, Director of Public Health, NHS Fife, said: “Norovirus can be really unpleasant but there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk of catching it this winter and look after yourself or a member of your family if you or they do. For anyone who catches it, antibiotics won't help to beat the bug because it’s caused by a virus.”
Top tips to beat the bug
Wash hands regularly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing or handling food.
If you develop symptoms, please do not visit other people. Stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared, to reduce the risk of passing on the virus.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and drink more than usual to replace lost fluids. As well as water, adults could also try fruit juice and soup. Avoid giving fizzy drinks or fruit juice to children as it can make their symptoms worse. Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.
Use rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if there are signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or dark urine.
Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains and get plenty of rest.
Eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.
For further information and advice on when to seek medical attention, visit: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/norovirus
Comments from NHS Fife Director of Public Health, Dr Joy Tomlinson : [DOWNLOAD]