TWO schools have been forced to close in the past month after being struck down by a wave of the winter vomiting bug. 

A school in Wirral was the latest this week after a school in Carnforth in Lancashire had to be closed for a deep clean at the end of September.

Norovirus is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea and has already reportedly closed hospital wards in Staffordshire, Warwickshire and East Yorkshire in recent months.

Figures from Public Health England have recorded 696 laboratory reports of norovirus in England and Wales since early August.

And patients in Yorkshire have been warned the contagious bug is 'doing the rounds'. 

What are the symptoms of norovirus?

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of norovirus are:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • diarrhoea
  • being sick (vomiting)

You may also have:

  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • a headache
  • aching arms and legs

The symptoms start suddenly within 1 to 2 days of being infected.

What you should do if you think you've caught it

You should start to feel better in a day or two but make sure you stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days and avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.

This is when you're most infectious.


  • stay at home and get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of fluids, such as water or squash – take small sips if you feel sick
  • carry on breast or bottle feeding your baby – if they're being sick, try giving small feeds more often than usual
  • give babies on formula or solid foods small sips of water between feeds
  • eat when you feel able to – you don't need to eat or avoid any specific foods
  • take paracetamol if you're in discomfort – check the leaflet before giving it to your child

Things you should avoid doing if you think you or your child has got it

  • do not have fruit juice or fizzy drinks – they can make diarrhoea worse
  • do not make baby formula weaker – use it at its usual strength
  • do not give children under 12 medicine to stop diarrhoea
  • do not give aspirin to children under 16

How to avoid catching norovirus

Norovirus can spread very easily.

You can catch norovirus from:

  • close contact with someone with norovirus
  • touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them, then touching your mouth
  • eating food that's been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading.

Alcohol hand gels don't kill norovirus.

If a family member does catch it, you can try to protect the rest of your household by:

  • cleaning toilet seats, flush handles, taps, surfaces and door handles every day
  • don't share towels, flannels, cutlery or utensils
  • don't use a swimming pool until 2 weeks after the symptoms stop