The Welsh Government has been told by Health Boards across Wales that outbreaks of norovirus are “virulent”, and that Emergency Departments are under increasing pressure from people seeking treatment.
Norovirus can be caught through contact with an infected person, by touching contaminated surfaces or objects, or through contaminated food and drink. It is the most common stomach bug in the UK: it is estimated that between 600,000 and one million people have the winter vomiting bug every year in the UK.
Dr Jewell said:
“The winter vomiting bug Norovirus is highly contagious. It is unpleasant for those who get it, but is not generally dangerous and most people will make a full recovery within a couple of days, without having to see a doctor.
“Unless people are particularly concerned about their health, they should avoid going into hospital or visiting a GP, as they risk spreading the bug further, possibly to those already ill for whom the Norovirus could be more serious. Instead, seek advice online or by telephone from NHS Direct, or speak to a pharmacist.
“The best advice for anyone suffering from sickness and diarrhoea is to rest and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and take paracetamol for any fever, aches or pains.
“Extra care must be taken if babies or the elderly are ill, as they can become dehydrated quickly. Again, plenty of fluids will help with their recovery.
“Apart from trying to stay away from other people, there are simple measures everyone can take which will help to stop the spread of the bug. The most important is to wash your hands frequently, avoid sharing towels and flannels, and keeping surfaces clean.
“By following this advice, we can all help to relieve pressure on the NHS during this busy winter period.”