As the winter season continues Norovirus disease cases are on the rise across the UK — especially in those 65 and over. Care experts, Lottie, have looked into the rise and come up with 4 ways people can help protect themselves.
In the last few weeks, the number of Norovirus cases have surged by 66% compared to previous years, according to National Health Surveillance Data.
“Norovirus (also known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’) is a stomach bug that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. The virus is spread easily through contaminated food and close contact with others — it is often more prominent in the winter months as we generally spend more time indoors”, shares Will Donnelly, Care Expert and Co-Founder at Lottie.
“The elderly and those more vulnerable are at greater risk of experiencing Norovirus — especially those living with dementia. Whilst the virus usually passes within a few days older adults are at greater risk of experiencing complications such as dehydration and fatigue.
“So, it’s important to be aware of the signs, symptoms, and ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from Norovirus, as cases continue to rise,” concludes Donnelly.
1. Keep hydrated
Vomiting and diarrhoea are common symptoms of Norovirus — as a result, dehydration is a common challenge, especially for those with dementia. They may not recognise the signs they need to drink more or be able to communicate their needs easily.
Make sure you have regular drinks within easy reach to replenish fluids. For instance, keep a jug of fresh, cold water in every room and in the places you and your loved ones spend most of your time.
Fruit and vegetables are also great sources of water, including cucumber, tomatoes, melon and oranges.
2. Make sure you’re well rested
Norovirus can increase exhaustion and fatigue — make sure you’re getting plenty of rest if you are experiencing any symptoms of the virus.
Try to avoid any strenuous activities during the day and allow yourself to take regular breaks throughout the day to relax. If you or a loved one are living with dementia, try avoid taking a nap later in the day or evening — this can disrupt sleeping patterns making it harder to fall asleep at night.
3. Be as comfortable as possible
Headache, cramps, and muscle pains can be symptoms of norovirus. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you can have painkillers to feel more comfortable; as well as keeping well hydrated and rested.
Try to make sure you’re as comfortable as can be. For example, propping up on pillows and keeping the temperature at a reasonable level (around 37.5 degrees) will help to relax and recover.
4. Practise good hygiene
Norovirus is highly contagious and can be spread through close contact with those infected with the virus, so it’s important to keep up good hygiene practices to protect yourself or a loved one from contracting or spreading the virus.
Washing your hands regularly and using sanitisers, disinfecting surfaces and tables and washing fruit and vegetables before eating them are all examples of good hygiene practices and can help prevent the spread of Norovirus disease.
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