Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.
This week, we advise people on what to do if they catch norovirus and how to prevent the spread of germs.
Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and is highly contagious.
It's also called the ‘winter vomiting bug’, because it's more common at this time of the year. It is transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces, an infected person or consumption of contaminated food or water.
While norovirus can be very unpleasant, it normally clears up by itself in a few days and you don’t usually need to get medical advice. However, you should get advice if there's a risk of a more serious problem, such as your symptoms haven't started to improve after a few days or you have a serious underlying condition, such as kidney disease.
Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities and health, said: “As norovirus can spread to others very easily and there's no specific treatment for it, the advice to residents is to try and avoid going to your GP if you have the bug. Instead, if you are concerned or need any advice, call your surgery or NHS 111.
“There are also some simple precautions you can take to help prevent the virus from spreading, including washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food, disinfecting any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated and not sharing towels or flannels.
“You should also stay off work, and keep any affected children away from school or nursery, until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared.”
There is a wealth of information and advice about norovirus available online at: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Norovirus/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Councillor Bates said: “If you do fall ill with norovirus this winter, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you're feeling better. As it’s a virus, antibiotics won’t help your symptoms but there are a few things you can do to lessen the effects.
“Advice available on the NHS Choices website includes drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, taking paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains, getting plenty of rest and, if you feel up to it, eating plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.”
Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.