An unpleasant norovirus bug is rapidly sweeping the UK at the moment.
Several cases of the 'absolutely vile' bug, which causes nausea, projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, have been reported across the country – spreading as wide as Devon, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, North Wales and South Wales.
The norovirus usually peaks in the winter months and, although levels of the infection are at expected levels for the moment, PHE have issued the guidance to help stop it spreading, according to the Liverpool Echo.
It can last for around two days.
One woman told The Mirror that she and her four-year-old have been struck down by the bug in Bury along with three other friends and their families.
Another, from Coventry, added: "Six-month-old daughter started with outrageous screaming for 3 days this including diarrhoea and temperature now covered with a rash.
"Husband had to have day off work due to vomiting yesterday, he said his never felt pain like it in his stomach."
NHS Choices says to avoid going to your GP if you show symptoms of norovirus as it can easily spread and can be treated from home.
What to do if you have norovirus:
If you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you’re feeling better. There’s no cure for norovirus, so you have to let it run its course.
You don’t usually need to get medical advice unless there’s a risk of a more serious problem.
To help ease your own or your child’s symptoms:
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration . You need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea – 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 diarrhoea worse. Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.
Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains.
Get plenty of rest.
If you feel like eating, eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread .
Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if you have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or dark urine.
Adults can take antidiarrhoeal and anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medication – these aren’t suitable for everyone though, so you should check the medicine leaflet or ask or your pharmacist or GP for advice before trying them.
Babies and young children, especially if they’re less than a year old, have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated.
Norovirus can spread very easily, so you should wash your hands regularly while you’re ill and stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared to reduce the risk of passing it on.
When to get medical advice:
You don’t normally need to see your GP if you think you or your child has norovirus, as there’s no specific treatment for it. Antibiotics won’t help because it’s caused by a virus.
Visiting your GP surgery with norovirus can put others at risk, so it’s best to call your GP or NHS 111 if you’re concerned or feel you need advice.
Get medical advice if:
Your baby or child has passed 6 or more watery stools in the past 24 hours, or has vomited 3 times or more in the past 24 hours
Your baby or child is less responsive, feverish, or has pale or mottled skin
You or your child has symptoms of severe dehydration, such as persistent dizziness, only passing small amounts of urine or no urine at all, or reduced consciousness – babies and elderly people have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated
You have bloody diarrhoea
Your symptoms haven’t started to improve after a few days
You or your child have a serious underlying condition, such as kidney disease, and have diarrhoea and vomiting
Your GP may suggest sending off a sample of your stool to a laboratory to confirm whether you have norovirus or another infection.