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Children's health

03rd Oct 2023

The symptoms of norovirus to look out for as cases set to rise

Kat O'Connor

Norovirus cases are on the rise in Ireland.

We’re all starting to feel the changing of the seasons. Our scarves are out of hibernation, the heavier coats are needed in the morning and everyone is starting to sniffle on the bus.

It’s the time of year when we all come down with something, whether that’s a cold, the flu, or a stomach bug. Or if you’re a mum, all three and everything in between.

With the kids in school and creche, there’s no household that won’t be struck down by some kind of dose this autumn and winter.

And there’s one in particular that all families are dreading- the Norovirus.

The common stomach bug tends to crop its head up around this time of year, especially when the kids return to school, but the HSE is already concerned about a stark jump in cases.

According to recent reports, Norovirus cases are expected to rise so much that it could cripple our already struggling healthcare system.

The HSPC has revealed that cases doubled in 2023 and we haven’t even reached peak winter yet.

The report revealed that 1,117 people were infected with the winter vomiting bug in 2023. Only 534 people were infected in 2022.

This stark jump in cases has concerned healthcare professionals who likely won’t see a real spike in cases until mid-winter.

Being aware of the symptoms of Norovirus is key to preventing the spread of the bug. Symptoms include Diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting. Patients may also suffer from headaches, a fever, and body aches.

Symptoms typically last for an average of three days and can be treated with pain relief like Calpol. It is important to stay hydrated and to rest if you have been infected with Norovirus.

How to prevent the spread

The HSPC has urged the public to practice the following habits to help prevent the spread

  1. Frequent hand washing especially before and after using the bathroom and before and after eating
  2. Cleaning and decontaminating surfaces immediately
  3. Remove contaminated clothing and bedding straight away. These can be cleaned with hot water and soap
  4. Flush or discard any vomit and/or faeces in the toilet and ensure the bathroom area is kept clean