RESIDENTS are being warned to protect themselves and others against this winter’s Norovirus.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran is asking the public to be aware of the increased risk of norovirus - also known as the winter vomiting bug - at this time of year.

It is estimated that between 600,000 and one million people in the UK are affected by norovirus each year.

Around 50 per cent of those exposed will also become ill. It is more serious and more easily spread among people who are already ill.

Bob Wilson, Infection Control Manager – NHS Ayrshire and Arran, commented: “Norovirus is highly contagious and becomes more common in the winter when people stay indoors for longer and in larger groups.

“Our job is to protect patients in hospital from norovirus since it can be much more serious for those who are already ill. Therefore, we are asking everyone to help us reduce outbreaks in hospitals and care homes by staying at home for at least 48 hours after symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting have ended.

It can take 12 to 48 hours after becoming infected with the virus to show symptoms. You may be infectious to other people during this time.

Symptoms usually start with nausea followed by violent vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

You may also get a fever, headache or aching limbs. Although it is unpleasant and there is no cure for it, it is not usually dangerous.