The 3 unusual norovirus symptoms you should never ignore as UK cases rise

NOROVIRUS is starting to rise in the UK, with health chiefs warning Brits to be aware of any symptoms.

Most people will know the classic two, that will most certainly tell you there is something wrong.

Being struck with vomiting and diarrhoea is generally a clear cut and well known symptom of norovirus.

But you might not know that suffering with abdominal pain, aching limbs and a high temperature is also a sign of the nasty winter bug.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) sent out a warning to remind people of the symptoms and how to keep safe.

The country hasn't really seen an outbreak of the vomiting illness since the start of the pandemic, with mixing kept to a minimum over both winters.

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But now as Covid restrictions are scrapped and many more people are socialising, other germs will start to creep back into daily life.

Norovirus, which usually strikes during the winter months, has begun to spread through care homes in England.

Educational settings had already seen 48 per cent more reports of the grim winter bug than expected.

Now care homes are starting to experience a rise in infections, which can be dangerous for the vulnerable.

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It can spread quickly through contact with infected patients or contaminated surfaces, but usually passes in a couple of days.

Always wash your hands with soap and water to avoid spreading the virus, as sanitising does not work on the norovirus.

Professor Saheer Gharbia, Gastrointestinal Pathogens & Food Safety Directorate, UKHSA, said: "Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, has been at lower levels than normal throughout the pandemic but as people have begun to mix more, the numbers of outbreaks have started to increase again.

"Symptoms include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs.

How to reduce the spread of norovirus:

Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms. Do not return to work or send children to school until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. Also avoid visiting elderly or poorly relatives, particularly if they are in hospital or a care home.

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. Alcohol hand gels don’t kill norovirus.

When an infected person vomits, the droplets contaminate the surrounding surfaces. A bleach-based household cleaner or a combination of bleach and hot water should be used to disinfect potentially contaminated household surfaces and commonly used objects such as toilets, taps, telephones, door handles and kitchen surfaces.

If you are ill, avoid cooking and helping prepare meals for others until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped, as norovirus can be spread through food contaminated by the virus when food is handled by symptomatic people/infected individuals.

Wash any contaminated clothing or bedding using detergent and at 60°C, and if possible, wear disposable gloves to handle contaminated items.

"Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms and do not return to work or send children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.

"Please avoid visiting elderly relatives if you are unwell – particularly if they are in a care home or hospital.

"As with Covid-19 and other infectious illnesses, hand washing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, unlike for Covid-19 alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so soap and water is best.”

UKHSA warned out of season or unusual cases could be seen in the next few months as Covid restrictions end, and the outbreaks are later than usual.

If you are showing symptoms try to avoid seeing your GP, but make an appointment on the phone if you are concerned.

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