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16 March 2016

Cases of norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, are on the rise across Bristol

The virus is highly-contagious, therefore people experiencing symptoms of norovirus are being asked to stay at home, not to go in to hospital to visit friends or relatives and to be extra vigilant in terms of hygiene. Symptoms include sudden onset of nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pains or cramps, headaches, fever and tiredness.

Although norovirus can be unpleasant, it's not usually dangerous for people in general good health, and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see their GP. The virus can, however, be more serious for patients who are already weak and may result in them having to stay in hospital for longer. Outbreaks in hospitals also add to pressures on an already busy health system. 

Dr Martin Jones, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group Clinical Chair, said: "We are asking people with any of the symptoms of norovirus to avoid going in to hospitals or nursing homes to visit friends or relatives. 

"If a vulnerable patient contracts norovirus it could have potentially serious health implications. Please be aware you are doing the right thing for patients by staying away until 72 hours after any norovirus symptoms disappear." 

There are simple measures that you can take to avoid catching or spreading the virus: wash your hands regularly with soap and water, avoid sharing towels and ensure you disinfect surfaces that an infected person may have touched.

While you have symptoms you should not prepare food for others, and avoid direct contact with others for at least 72 hours after your symptoms disappear. You should also drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. If symptoms last longer than a few days, or if you already have a serious illness, you should contact your GP. 

If you are unsure of your symptoms and want healthcare advice, then call NHS 111 in the first instance for free healthcare advice and signposting.