Health chiefs advocate bleach as norovirus rates rise among the very young

14th of December 2023
Health chiefs advocate bleach as norovirus rates rise among the very young

Norovirus is spreading rapidly in the UK among children up to four years old - and bleach-based products are being advocated to help stop the spread of the bug.

Data shared by the UK Health Security Agency has revealed that the number of norovirus outbreak has been increasing steadily since week 43 of this year. And one facility - the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough - was recently forced to close three wards after its worst norovirus outbreak for four to five years.

"Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will help to stop the virus from spreading," said Dr Lesley Larkin of the UK Security Health Agency. "Sufferers should also make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration since this can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable."

She says that while reports of norovirus cases have been rising across all age groups in the UK, highest levels have been among children aged 0 to four years in recent weeks.

"As norovirus activity increases it is important that we take steps to prevent it from spreading," said Larkin. "If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes. And you should not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped."

The main symptoms of norovirus include nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting - but some people also experience a high temperature, a headache and aching arms and legs. Symptoms begin suddenly within one to two days of being infected.


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