It's that time of year again when horrible 'winter vomiting bugs' seem to be everywhere. Here's a guide to what you should know...
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Winter vomiting/tummy bugs are caused by a group of viruses called Norovirus (also called Norwalk viruses). They are more common at this time of year, but can happen at any time. They are spread easily through contact with people that are affected or contaminated objects/surfaces. It can be a real problem in places like hospitals where people are concentrated and already at risk.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The virus can make you feel extremely unwell and gives you symptoms of gastroenteritis:
• general aches and pains
Vomiting and diarrhoea are by far the most troubling symptoms and can lead to dehydration.
HOW CAN I TREAT IT?
Once you have the virus, there is very little you can do other than use simple, supportive measures whilst your body naturally gets rid of it. Because it is caused by a virus, antibiotics have no effect.
Important things to do are:
• rest - to help your body recover
• stay hydrated - drink plenty of fluids to prevent getting dehydrated
• take simple pain killers - to help with the aches and pains
• stay away from other people - to avoid spreading the illness (it's extremely catchy!)
• use good hygiene - make sure you wash your hands and don't share items with other people
It is horrible, but don't worry it will get better!
WHEN SHOULD I SEEK HELP?
Most people will get over the illness in a couple of days. However, if you are worried, not getting better, elderly, a young child, or have underlying medical problems then contact your doctor for advice. Anyone developing signs of dehydration that they cannot manage should seek medical advice.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
For more information on how to prevent and treat dehydration, check out the Dr. Ranj Video Blog.