WE are a few days into 2019, and I wish everyone a healthy year ahead.

Unfortunately, not all of us are starting January in good health!

You may have read in the news recently that the sickness bug, norovirus, is doing the rounds in Bolton.

While it is common at this time of year, the bug is extremely unpleasant and can spread rapidly in public places where there are a lot of people.

As a result, the hospital had to restrict visitors to a number of wards just after Christmas as some patients were suffering with the bug. They also asked friends and relatives of patients not to visit if they had experienced symptoms in the previous two days.

The situation is gradually improving and wards have reopened but norovirus is still affecting people in the community.

Symptoms include sudden vomiting and/or diarrhoea, and some people may suffer with a high temperature, headache and stomach cramps.

Usually symptoms subside after two days and the advice is to stay at home and drink plenty of fluids. If you are in discomfort from stomach cramps or headache, then take paracetamol.

We would urge you not to attend your GP practice or A&E – as these are prime environments for the bug to spread. Even if you are just visiting!

It’s important to think about the effects on others, as it can be harmful to more vulnerable people like the elderly, very young or those with existing health conditions.

If you are concerned about someone who may not recover quickly, or symptoms haven’t cleared up after 72 hours, then give your GP practice a call. They can recommend the best course of action.

Health care workers can also catch norovirus – so please try to stay at home unless it’s an emergency.