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During the Christmas and Boxing Day celebrations, a significant number of people have fallen ill, not from overindulgence in roast dinners and Baileys, but from a highly contagious winter bug. This virus, identified as norovirus or the ‘winter vomiting bug,’ induces 72 hours of intense symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining, leading to unpleasant digestive issues. Originating from the feces and vomit of infected individuals, the virus can be easily spread if proper cleaning measures are not taken.

Dr. Lesley Larkin, Interim Deputy Director of Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety at UKHSA, advised those affected by norovirus on crucial steps to prevent its transmission. These measures include refraining from preparing food for others during symptoms and for 48 hours after they subside.

Additionally, individuals should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes to prevent infection spread in these settings. Returning to work or school should be postponed until 48 hours after symptoms cease. Regular handwashing with soap and water, along with the use of bleach-based products for surface cleaning, is recommended to curb the virus’s spread.

While norovirus can be a discomforting experience, most cases can be managed at home with sufficient rest and fluid intake. The NHS suggests that individuals typically start feeling better within two to three days. Concerned individuals can seek advice by contacting the NHS’s 111 helpline.

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