Monday 19 August 2019

Explainer: There is a nasty bug going around - what's causing it and what can you do to avoid it?

Photo: Getty Images Stock
Photo: Getty Images Stock
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

It is the season to be jolly unless, of course, you have been struck down with the winter vomiting bug.

In every workplace, there seems to be at least one member of staff who has contracted the virus. So what is it, why are so many people getting it and what can you do to avoid it? 

Here are the answers...

What is it?

The winter vomiting bug, also know as norovirus, is a common stomach bug that can affect people of any age and is highly contagious.

It symptoms include a sudden feeling of sickness,  followed by vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Other symptoms include a raised temperature, headaches, stomach cramps and aching arms and legs.

Why are so many people getting the bug?

As previously stated, it is highly contagious, however that isn't the only reason it is so common this winter.

Dr Keith Perdue of the Grafton Medical Centre in Dublin, told Independent.ie that the highly contagious bug is spread mostly by people "not washing their hands correctly after they use the bathroom."

He also added that the weather may be having an affect, stating: "The milder weather is certainly not helping matters. Germs love warmth and the colder weather would normally kill off some of these germs. This year, the weather is slightly milder so this may be helping the increase."

What can you do to avoid it?

Strict hand washing, particularly after using the lavatory is essential. If at all possible, you should avoid infected individuals also.

If you have it, is there anything you can do to get better?

Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure and the doctor's prescription is generally quite predictable.

"Plenty of clear liquids and rest is the only thing that really works. Unfortunately, as doctors, there is very little we can do with this one," Dr Perdue added.

How long does it take to recover

Most people recover within a few days. The main risk is becoming dehydrated so it’s important to drink lots of water to replace what your body loses from vomiting and diarrhoea. The young and elderly are most at risk of becoming dehydrated.

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