Norovirus is on the increase in Devon!

Norovirus, also called the “winter vomiting bug”, is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days. It is important to keep hydrated – especially children and the elderly. Most people will be able to self-care at home by getting plenty of rest, ensuring a good fluid intake, such as water or squash and taking paracetamol if any discomfort. Symptoms usually stop after 2 to 3 days but people are advised to contact NHS 111 or phone their GP if they are worried or need any further advice.

How is it spread

Norovirus is highly infectious. It is easily spread from person to person through hand to mouth contact and can be picked up from contaminated surfaces such as equipment, hands, toys, or dirty nappies. When someone with norovirus vomits, the droplets contaminate the surrounding surfaces. You can also catch it by eating food that’s been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus.

How to stop it spreading

  • Exclude infected people from your setting until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped and they are well enough to return.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, but especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food. Alcohol gel/handrubs are not always effective against norovirus, so it is best to wash your hands following? contact with anyone with symptoms or contaminated surfaces.
  • A bleach-based household cleaner or a combination of bleach and water should be used to disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces and commonly used objects such as toilets, taps, telephones, door handles and kitchen surfaces. Clean kitchen and toilet areas regularly (for more details, see cleaning).
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling blood or bodily fluids such as vomit or diarrhoea.
  • Wash any contaminated laundry using detergent and at 60°C.
  • Contact the South West UKHSA Health Protection Team (HPT) if there are a higher than previously experienced or rapidly increasing number of absences due to diarrhoea and vomiting.

Health protection in children and young people settings, including education – GOV.UK ( has useful information on infection prevention

You can find out more about norovirus here:

FSA Explains: Norovirus – YouTube