Norovirus blighted families over Christmas – and the highly infectious bug is continuing to sweep the UK.
More and more hospitals are recording confirmed cases of the vile stomach bug and some have even been forced to close wards as a result.
Ward 2 at Stracathro Hospital, in Angus, Scotland, had to close last month and Royal Bolton Hospital, in Manchester, was also affected.
The misery led to Christmas being cancelled in many households while families, including young kids, repeatedly rushed to the toilet or struggled to get out of bed.
Stricken sufferers have contacted Mirror Online with their gruesome experiences, including cases of kids being admitted to hospital and graphic details about how the infection spread through the body.
Nine members of Jan Assheton’s family, one of whom is just 11-months-old, were struck with norovirus for days.
Have you been affected by norovirus this winter? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Assheton said: “This bug went though our family like you wouldn’t believe.
“My niece was hospitalised with the stomach cramps and it’s affected nine of us aged 11 months to 60 years, one after the other over Christmas.
“[It’s] despite scrupulous hand-sanitising and handwashing.”
Another sufferer, Dave Roberts, told how his three-month-old daughter was dashed to A&E on Saturday with violent symptoms.
The boss of a theatre company said: “My three-month-old daughter started being violently sick last Saturday evening to the point where we rushed her to A&E at 2am. The amount of fluid coming out of her was extreme to say the least.
“We brought her home and it happened a couple of times more but with a bigger gap of time.
“Then on Monday morning my wife started being sick and having diarrhoea, making her bed bound the whole day. By 7pm she seemed to be able to make it downstairs for some water.
“At 8pm, I started vomiting quite violently. Once I got up 30 times to go to the bathroom, I stopped counting. I was actually sick on the stroke of midnight and could hear fireworks whilst I had my head in the toilet, so happy new year to us.”
Craig Simeon, 28, suffered for two days during the festive period.
The dad, from Irvine, North Ryrshire, told Mirror Online: “All my children bar one got violently sick but none seemed to get diarrhoea.
“My seven-year-old son, Leon, got sick first, very late at night. My stepson Noah, who is 14, was sick not long after my son that same night, then I got it the next morning.
“I couldn’t keep anything down and was constantly running to the toilet every five mins.
“It honestly felt like I was dying.
“I had no energy, I couldn’t be bothered talking to anyone, I couldn’t even play games with the kids or anything. I couldn’t leave the house and kept feeling cold then warm then cold.”
Anthony Conway told how his baby was struck with norovirus.
He said: “My one-year-old son has been down with it for 10 days and today is the first day he’s managed to eat or drink, lost lots of weight and was so poorly.”
The bug is often called the “winter vomiting bug”, but you can catch norovirus all year round.
The NHS advises not going to your GP, as norovirus can spread to others very easily. Call your GP or NHS 111 if you’re concerned or need any advice.
The latest NHS norovirus report says: “Reports of suspected and confirmed outbreaks of norovirus in hospitals in England to week 50, 2018 (73 outbreaks) are currently at lower levels than the average number for the same period in the previous five seasons from season 2013/14 to season 2017/18.”
Symptoms of norovirus
You are likely to have norovirus if you experience: suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting, watery diarrhoea.
Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.
The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to three days.
What to do if you have norovirus
If you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you’re feeling better.
There is no cure for norovirus, so you have to let it run its course.
You don’t usually need to get medical advice unless there is a risk of a more serious problem.
To help ease your own or your child’s symptoms:
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea – as well as water, adults could also try fruit juice and soup. Avoid giving fizzy drinks or fruit juice to children as it can make their diarrhoea worse. Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.
Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains.
Get plenty of rest.
If you feel like eating, eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.
Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if you have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or dark urine.
Adults can take antidiarrhoeal and anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medication – these are not suitable for everyone though, so you should check the medicine leaflet or ask or your pharmacist or GP for advice before trying them.
Babies and young children, especially if they are less than a year old, have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated.
Norovirus can spread very easily, so you should wash your hands regularly while you are ill and stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared to reduce the risk of passing it on.