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Flu and Norovirus – here’s what to do

Trust services become very busy in winterJanuary is a time when people often find themselves with the dreaded flu or a winter vomiting bug. Whilst these are very unpleasant, they can usually be treated at home and hospital doctors are urging people to make sure they know what to do if they get the flu or another minor illness.

Dr Paul Fitzsimmons, consultant gerontologist at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said: “The flu or Norovirus are pretty nasty and can make people feel very ill. However, most people do not need hospital care for these illnesses. Emergency departments are very busy at this time of year and those attending with minor illnesses will wait. This is so we can look after patients with serious or life-threatening conditions.

“Spreading germs can also put other people at risk. We are asking the people of Merseyside to make sure they know what to do if they have flu or Norovirus.”

Aidan Kehoe, chair of the North Mersey A&E Delivery Board, added:

"Keeping A&Es free for people who really need them helps us to help your loved ones. Our staff are working incredibly hard to look after our patients at a time of increased demand. Help support your NHS by taking this advice on board."

Your handy guide to flu and norovirus:



  • A sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
  • Aching body feeling tired or exhausted
  • Dry, chesty cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Nausea and being sick

How to feel better


  • Rest and sleep
  • Keep warm
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • Drink plenty of water

When to see your GP

  • If your symptoms don't improve after 7 days
  • You're worried about your child's symptoms
  • You're 65 or over
  • You're pregnant
  • You have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes or a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease
  • You have a weakened immune system – for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV




  • Suddenly feeling sick
  • Projectile vomiting
  • Watery diarrhoea

How to feel better


  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains
  • Get plenty of rest
  • If you feel like eating, eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread
  • Use special rehydration drinks 

When to get advice (by calling your GP or NHS 111)

  • Your baby or child has passed 6 or more watery stools in the past 24 hours, or has vomited 3 times or more in the past 24 hours
  • Your baby or child is less responsive, feverish, or has pale or mottled skin
  • You or your child is showing signs of dehydration, such as persistent dizziness only passing small amounts of urine or no urine at all, or reduced consciousness – babies and elderly people have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated
  • You have bloody diarrhoea
  • Your symptoms haven't started to improve after a few day
  • You or your child have a serious underlying condition and have diarrhoea and vomiting

How to avoid bugs

  • Wash your hands often with warm soapy water
  • Sanitise surfaces
  • Eat a healthy diet, try and get plenty of sleep and look after yourself
  • Try and avoid those suffering with an illness

Got a bug? Protect others:

  • Stay at home and avoid crowded places
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough (catch it, bin it, kill it)
  • Don’t share towels, cups or sheets with others
The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal. If you have a hospital appointment then you should attend as planned.
Click here for the latest information on coronavirus