With an increase in cases of influenza and norovirus across the country, follow some simple advice from the NHS to get yourself well again.
For the majority of people, there’s not a lot the ambulance service can do to help you if you’ve got the flu or norovirus. If you’re otherwise fit and healthy, there is no need to visit your GP with flu like symptoms. If you think you’ve got norovirus you should try to avoid going to your GP, as it can spread to others very easily. Instead, call your GP or NHS 111 if you’re concerned or need any advice.
What is flu?
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:
- a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
- aching body
- feeling tired or exhausted
- dry, chesty cough
- sore throat
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- nausea and being sick
The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
What do I do if I get flu?
The best thing you can do is tuck yourself up in bed, rest, drink plenty of fluids, take paracetamol and remember, don’t take over the advised dosage.
Help ease a sore throat and cough with lozenges, mixtures or sprays too. If you are buying over the counter remedies, make sure you check with the pharmacist first to ensure they don’t affect medication you’re already taking.
You can find out more about flu via the NHS Choices Flu page
What is norovirus?
Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK. It’s also called the winter vomiting bug because it’s more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year. You’re 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 2 or 3 days.
What do I do if I get norovirus?
Norovirus can be very unpleasant but it usually clears up by itself in a few days. You can normally look after yourself or your child at home. You don’t usually need to get medical advice unless there’s a risk of a more serious problem.
Self-care is key so drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, take paracetamol for any fever, aches or pains and have plenty of rest.
Norovirus can spread very easily, so you should wash your hands regularly while you’re 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.
You can find out more about norovirus via the NHS Choices Norovirus page
CATCH IT – Always carry tissues and use them to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
BIN IT – Dispose of used tissues as soon as possible.
KILL IT – Clean your hands with soap and water as soon as you can and make sure you wash them frequently. If you have no washing facilities, make use of an alcohol gel.