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If you've ever suffered from norovirus, or winter vomiting bug as it's often referred to, you'll know that, although its effects are short-lived, it's not a pleasant illness.
Norovirus can be caught at any time of year, although activity increases in the winter months, with most cases occurring between October and April.
Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea, while some sufferers can have headaches, a high temperature and stomach cramps, usually lasting between 24 and 48 hours.
Health Protection Agency figures show that cases of norovirus are in line with seasonal norms this winter, and several hospitals have been forced to close wards to visitors to stop the spread.
Norovirus is highly contagious, so it's advisable to practice good health and hygiene, whether you have the illness or are hoping to avoid catching it.
You could also strengthen your defences with herbal supplements, such as those found in Fushi Wellbeing's Winter Defence Kit. The set contains Echinacea capsules, which are thought to reduce your risk of catching seasonal afflictions by boosting your immune system.
In 2007 scientists in the US claimed that the herbal remedy can halve a person's chances of developing a common cold and reduce the duration of colds by a day-and-a-half.
Vitamin C, argan oil and goji berries are also known to have immune boosting benefits that could help you avoid winter illnesses.
If you are stuck down by norovirus, the Health Protection Agency advises drinking plenty of fluids to replace those lost to vomiting and diarrhoea.
It also urged sufferers not to visit their GP surgery since norovirus is a self-limiting illness and people recover from it naturally without treatment.
Similarly, it is recommended that sufferers do not visit relatives in hospitals or residential care homes where the infection could put vulnerable people at risk.
Posted by Matilda Jones