12th December 2019
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Winter sickness bug arrives in isles

The first cases of seasonal diarrhoea and vomiting have been reported to NHS Shetland.

Consultant in public health Susan Laidlaw confirmed that the bug, caused by norovirus and other similar viruses, had been circulating in the isles.

And she issued a reminder of ways to minimise the risk of catching gastro-intestinal illnesses like norovirus which can spread quickly and easily, particularly between children.

“There are steps we can all take to reduce the chance of catching norovirus and stop it spreading to other people,” Dr Laidlaw said.

The most effective way was through regular and thorough hand-washing and staying at home while ill and for 48 hours after the symptoms had stopped.

Dr Laidlaw said washing hands with ordinary soap and water, especially after episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting and before eating, was crucial.

“Alcohol-based hand washes and rubs are not very effective against norovirus so do not rely on them.”

Children who are vomiting or with diarrhoea should not return to school or nursery for at least two days after the diarrhoea and/or vomiting had stopped, and as long as they are well enough in themselves.

“And they should also be kept away from parties, sports clubs and competitions and other after school activities and clubs,” Dr Laidlaw added.

“We ask especially that anyone who is feeling off colour, or who has had these symptoms, not to visit the hospital or care centres until they are symptom-free for 48 hours. Norovirus can be particularly severe for someone who is already unwell in hospital and for older people”.

Norovirus is most common in the winter months but infections occur at any time. Other viruses cause the same symptoms, especially in children, and are managed in the same way.

More information is available at www.nhsinform.scot/norovirus. There is also advice and an NHS Shetland leaflet for parents available on the Healthy Shetland website: www.healthyshetland.com/news.

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