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Symptoms of 'contagious' winter bug sweeping the UK that's causing 72 hours of hell

Symptoms of 'contagious' winter bug sweeping the UK that's causing 72 hours of hell

Norovirus triggers nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea

The winter season is officially upon us, meaning if you're not battling a storm during your walk to work, you must be tucked up in bed fighting off a flu.

It's a well known fact that the colder months are prime time for spreading germs and catching colds - but medics are this year warning Brits that there's a much more serious illness doing the rounds, which has left thousands bed-bound.

The virus doctors are warning patients to steer clear of is none other than the dreaded norovirus.

For those lucky enough not to have yet caught this nasty, highly contagious bug, it's symptoms can be much harder to bare than your average sniffly nose or chesty cough.

There's a reason why it's known around the world as the 'winter vomiting bug' after all!

Norovirus - which is also known as gastroenteritis - triggers both nausea, vomiting diarrhoea in its patients, due to the fact it causes inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining.

Norovirus can cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Getty/Tatsiana Volkava

Scientists recorded that in the last week of November, an average of 351 people were in hospital with these horrendous symptoms every day, compared to 126 in the same period last year.

Quebec Health also reports that symptoms of this illness tend to last up to 72 hours, but in the most severe cases, can persist for as long as 10 days.

"Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in adults. In children, rotavirus is more often involved," the health body told press in a statement.

"These viruses circulate mainly in the fall and winter. Other viruses and bacteria can spread stomach flu, especially in people travelling abroad.

"Gastroenteritis is extremely contagious. You can avoid spreading and catching it through simple hygiene measures such as washing your hands."

The symptoms can last as long as 10 days.
Peter Sade

Being that many of the symptoms of norovirus are similar to those you suffer with food poisoning, medics have issued some advice on the exact warning signs to keep an eye out for.

As well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea - which is classified as 'at least' three liquid/semi-liquid stools every 24 hours - stomach cramps are another key indication that you may be suffering with the dreaded bug.

Other symptoms that may 'sometimes appear' also include the likes of a mild fever, a headache, muscular pains, a loss of appetite or a change in general health, such as weakness, drowsiness, irritability, mental confusion.

In the vast majority of norovirus cases, the bug will clear up of its own according without the need of medical intervention.

The illness is also known as the winter vomiting bug.
Getty/Olga Rolenko

However, health bodies have warned patients suffering with this illness to be sure to visit A&E if they suffer the likes of blood in your stool, or your stool is black, diarrhoea with intense abdominal pain, or diarrhoea paired with extreme thirst and have not having urinated in 12 hours.

Similarly, you should seek medical assistance if you're vomiting frequently - and it does not slow down after four to six hours - or there is stool or blood in your vomit.

Featured Image Credit: LaylaBird/Olga Rolenko/Getty Images

Topics: Health, Christmas