The UK is grappling with a surge in norovirus, the aptly nicknamed “winter vomiting bug,” raising concerns about stretched resources and holiday disruptions. Nearly 1,500 confirmed cases in early December mark a 60% increase over last year, worrying health experts already wary of a winter illness spike.
This highly contagious virus, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, spreads easily through contact with infected individuals. Unlike the flu, there’s no vaccine, making prevention crucial. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland highlights how norovirus strains hospital resources, adding to staff absences due to illness.
While symptoms, like upset stomach and diarrhea, mimic food poisoning or the flu, the culprit is different. Norovirus causes acute gastroenteritis, inflaming the stomach and intestines. Fortunately, most recover within a few days, though dehydration remains a risk.
Experts urge staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and emphasize diligent handwashing as the virus lingers in stools for weeks after recovery. Keeping surfaces clean and practicing good hygiene are key to curbing transmission and navigating these wintry woes.