CASES of norovirus are rising in England just days before families get together for Christmas, new data has revealed.
Fresh cases of the horrible but short-lived disease resulted in the ‘closure’ of 457 hospital beds to halt the spread of the disease between 5 and 11 December.
This is up from 375 the previous week, according to NHS data.
Hospital beds are ‘closed’ when a patient in a neighbouring bed falls ill with the highly contagious bug.
The surge in bed closures during the lead up to Christmas aligns with reports from the Government suggesting cases of the bug are rising.
But the the most recent UK Health Security Agency figures shows infection rates are 15 per cent lower than the five-year average for this period.
Meanwhile, new Covid figures suggest infections of the bug have climbed above one million for the first time since the end of October, while Scotland and Wales have both seen an increase.
While flu hospitalisations in England doubled in just one week as the NHS braces for one of the worst outbreaks of the virus in recent years.
The rise could not come at a worse time, as a backlog of people waiting for surgery reaches 7.2million and nurses across the country strike in a bid for better pay,
What are the 6 symptoms of norovirus?
According to the NHS website, you are likely to have caught norovirus if you experience a sudden sick feeling, projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea.
The main symptoms are:
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Being sick (vomiting)
- A high temperature
- A headache
- Aching arms and legs
What you can do to protect yourself?
Norovirus can be nasty, but there are ways that you can prevent you and your family catching the bug.
- Pay close attention to hygiene – wash your hands frequently, using soap and water
- Avoid close contact with people who are obviously sick.
If you or members of your household are ill:
- Try to keep those with symptoms away from others until the illness has subsided for at least 48 hours
- Clean frequently – disinfect any potentially contaminated surfaces or objects
- Wash contaminated clothing or bedding using detergent at high temperature (60C)
- Do not allow anyone who is sick to prepare food for other people
- Consider adding rehydration salts to water. Eat plain foods (if you can manage eating).
- Seek medical attention if symptoms are not improving after 24 hours, or if concerned. This is especially important for young children and the elderly, as they are prone to rapid dehydration.
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