According to official statistics, more cases of the vomiting bug Norovirus have been reported this year compared to the last five years. It has closed down schools, oil rigs, and made the ships return to port early.
Data from Public Health England confirms that the vomiting bug had made it to 2,435 this winter- 12% extra than the average over the previous five years. This number is 71% more than the same period last year, however, last winter saw remarkably low levels of Norovirus.
Hospitals revealed 20 Norovirus breakouts in the first two weeks of December- 17 of which resulted in bay or hospital ward closures as a precautionary measure and 13 of which were proved as the bug.
According to some scientists, this is an infectious bug that gives rise to up to two days of diarrhea, projectile vomiting, and flu-like symptoms. This type of bug often spreads in the winter, as chilly weather forces us inside our house, creating moist conditions ideal for helping the bug to increase easily.
“Norovirus is known as the winter vomiting bug because the virus causes increased cases during the winter period,” says David Lawrence of the Health Protection Agency. The virus can be passed on by coming into contact with the contaminated area, surface, person, food or water.
The bacteria can exist on the contaminated surfaces for up to five days and it is not possible to notice it. Trains, offices, buses are the breeding grounds for them.
Sustaining high levels of hygiene is essential to avoid the virus. “Norovirus is very contagious, and anyone who has had it knows it is very unpleasant,” says John Harris. Doctors recommend using hand sanitizers and avoid indulging in smoking and drinking.
”For those affected by the virus, the NHS recommends remaining in quarantine for up to 48 hours after symptoms have passed to prevent further contamination.”
“There isn’t any particular treatment for norovirus,” says Paul Zollinger-Read, BUPA’s chief medical officer. “Stay at home and take paracetamol if you are aching or have a high temperature.
It’s essential to stay hydrated in order to make up for the water lost during vomiting and diarrhea. ”Rehydration sachets, available from most chemists, help rebalance the bodies’ salt and sugar levels.”
Experts have formed a ‘vomiting robot’ to help discover how far micro particles of a sick person can transmit the virus.