Winter offers many things to look forward to but it also brings with it the cold and flu season and an array of viruses. Most of us are aware of the routine steps we can take to prevent cold and flu. For example, covering our mouths when sneezing, thoroughly washing our hands and wrapping up in layers, but not as easy to prevent is the norovirus, the UK’s most common stomach bug.
Highly contagious, the norovirus can strike all year round, but like most illnesses, is more widespread throughout winter – earning the name “the winter vomiting bug”. Although at this time of year it rains more and it appears to be damper, the air is very dry inside. When we sneeze without covering our mouth, we expel bacteria and viruses that can linger in dry air for hours, and even days as it spans out into millions of tiny particles.
The symptoms of norovirus are similar to the common cold with fever, headaches and aching limbs often making an appearance, but the main indication is diarrhea and vomiting.
The virus is a more serious risk to babies, young children and older people, resulting in around 3,000 admissions to hospital each year in England. If you believe your child has caught the bug, be sure to monitor their condition regularly by recording temperatures with a reliable, accurate thermometer such as the Braun ThermoScan® 7 with Age Precision®. Offering professional quality and accuracy, the ThermoScan® 7 will deliver a reliable, comfortable in ear temperature reading and will interpret the reading based on the age of the child, taking the guesswork out of monitoring your child’s temperature.
It is also worth investing in a humidifier to keep the air moist and limit the chances of the virus surviving in the home. According to the BBC, the Mayo Clinic discovered that a humidifier running in a classroom for just one hour reduced the presence of the bacteria by 30%. The Vicks SweetDreams Cool Mist Humidifier will help your child sleep when tickly coughs and blocked
1.James, L; 2016; Bupa UK; http://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/winter-vomiting-bug
2. Robson, D; 2015; BBC; www.bbc.com/future/story/20151016-the-real-reason-germs-spread-in-the-winter
4. James, L; 2016; Bupa UK; http://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/winter-vomiting-bug
5. Robson, D; 2015; BBC; www.bbc.com/future/story/20151016-the-real-reason-germs-spread-in-the-winter
noses are affecting them, whilst tackling limiting spread of bacteria. It will also help to reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air.
As with all cases of diarrhea and vomiting, there is a high risk of dehydration. If you notice your child is showing signs of dehydration, such as feeling faint, less responsive than usual or is passing little or no urine, this would signal a trip to the doctors.
As the virus is easily transmitted through air, it is advised that if you or your child contracts norovirus you should stay clear of the GP. There is no cure for the illness, so rest and minimal contact is the best treatment, with the bug usually leaving the system within a couple of days.
Braun shares its top tips for preventing common winter illnesses:
- Wrap your child up in lots of thin layers, rather than one thick coat. This will trap heat to keep them warmer
- Invest in a good quality thermometer such as the Thermoscan 7, so when you notice your child looks under the weather, you can begin tracking and monitoring their temperature
- Invest in a humidifier, like the Vicks Sweet Dreams Cool Mist Humidifier which will help promote a comfortable nights sleep and ease any ear, nose or throat discomforts
- Keep your child hydrated, especially if they have diarrhea or experience any vomiting. Small sips, little and often
- Keep them out of environments where bacteria and viruses thrive such as school and public transport for around 48 hours
- Hygienically dispose of tissues after each use and wash hands often