Yesterday, I read that the British health care and ambulance services had been devastated by New Year’s drunkenness, a self-inflicted illness for which I, as a tee-totaller, have little sympathy. If you vomit because you got blitzed, serves you right.
Today, however, I read something that caused me to feel serious sympathy for the beleaguered, vomiting Brits. Apparently norovirus has hit England’s shores in a big way:
Calls to NHS Direct soared over the extended Christmas break as hundreds of thousands of people fell ill with a violent stomach bug.
More than 1.2m people logged on to the NHS Direct website or called for advice over the 11-day period, more than two thirds higher than the same time last year. Dental pain was the most common complaint followed by vomiting and abdominal pain.
The NHS advises patients affected to stay at home for 48 hours after they last suffered the symptoms
The figures confirm warnings from doctors and Government scientists that cases of the winter vomiting bug, called norovirus, have reached the highest level for five years.
Almost two million people are thought to have suffered with the two-day vomiting and diarrhoea bug between the beginning of September and the first week in December.
New cases will peak in the next month and doctors warned up to 200,000 a week could fall ill as schools and offices return after the Christmas break.
A staggering 1,122,874 people contacted NHS Direct during the extended 11-day Christmas and New Year break.
As someone who used to be vulnerable to stomach flu; who suffered from severe morning sickness 24/7 for the entirety of both her pregnancies; and who has been hospitalized twice with severe food poisoning, there are few things that elicit more sympathy from me then stomach flu. I wish the Brits the best of luck in combating this problem. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that the norovirus, which always crops up here occasionally, doesn’t become epidemic.