PEOPLE who are struck down with a vomiting bug this winter are being urged to stay at home to recover and not visit their doctor or A&E to ask for help.
Health chiefs are hammering home the message that normally healthy residents suffering from sickness and diarrhoea needn’t seek professional help and are better off resting in bed.
The advice from primary care trust NHS South West Essex, which provides medical services across Basildon, Billericay and Thurrock, comes as an onset of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus – Britain’s most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis – is expected across the nation.
Although not usually dangerous, the bug can be extremely unpleasant with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, a mild fever, upset stomach, aching limbs and headaches.
However, health experts from the the primary care trust warn that because the virus can spread very quickly only the very young and the elderly, who are at risk of complications, should seek medical attention.
They stress that healthy adults should be able to fight off the bug by resting and drinking fluids.
Samantha Downes, spokes-woman for NHS South West Essex, said: “Unless you are extremely unwell, please don’t go to A&E or your GP.
“You will only help to spread the bug. There is no specific treatment and you will have to let the illness run its course.
“Stay at home, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. That means regular sips of water or fruit juice, even if you are feeling sick.
“Adults can take dehydration drinks and anti-diarrhoea medicines available from pharmacies. Anti-diarrhoea medicines are not suitable for children.”
People who contract the virus are also advised not to prepare food for others until at least three days after their symptoms go and not to visit friends and family in hospital, who will be vulnerable to infection.
Residents suffering from the bug can get advice from NHS Direct on 0845 4647. You can learn more about the virus and how to treat it at www.nhs.uk