DOCTORS in East Lancashire are advising people to be on the lookout for symptoms of norovirus.

The virus, sometimes known as '’winter vomiting disease’, often starts to appear in the autumn but peaks during January.

It is highly contagious and the most frequent cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales.

Typical symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea but patients can also feel unwell, suffering a temperature, headache, aching limbs and stomach cramps.

It affects people of all ages, and symptoms usually last anywhere between a few hours to a couple of days.

Dr Mike Ions, chief clinical officer of NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If someone suspects they have norovirus they should ensure they do not visit hospitals, schools or care homes to reduce the risk of them passing it on to others.

“They should avoid work and only return after they have been free of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours, as during this time infectious viruses may still be present.”

There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course but doctors advise those affected to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.